Is there a connection between the weather and our emotions? Well, I suppose if you ever really thought about it, you would say that yes, there most certainly is. Calm peaceful days with gentle sunshine would seem to symbolize contentment. Drizzling rain would point to sorrow. Torrential rain seems connected to deep grief and turmoil. Roaring thunder seems to symbolize anger and fury. Then there is an actual illness known as Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD). This illness, as far as I remember reading a long time ago, is a type of depression associated with living for prolonged periods in a dull climate, where the sunshine is seldom seen. Well, who would disagree?
I remember meeting an Indian woman in
Dublin in 1990, who was the wife of the then Indian Ambassador to . Although she seems to have found Ireland quite congenial in terms of facilities and people, she was badly affected by the seemingly never-ending dull weather. Having come from Dublin India, which has a lot of sunshine, and having lived meanwhile in a Mediterranean paradise like Greece, she found the damp and rather dull climate of afforded her little cause for joy. In fact, she was finding it distinctly off-putting. When I mentioned Seasonal Affected Disorder, she claimed it as her own immediately. Ireland
There is a phenomenon in literature, particularly in poetry, of causing the weather to agree with the mood of the writer. If I am not mistaken, that phenomenon is known as ‘pathetic fallacy’. One of my favourite ‘mood’ poems is WB Yeats’ ‘To A Child Dancing In The Wind’.
Dance there upon the shore
What need have you to care
For wind and water’s roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet
Being young you have not known
The fool’s triumph nor yet
Love lost as soon as won
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind
What need have you to fear the monstrous crying of the wind?
I reproduce this poem with full apologies to whomsoever for the copyright. Don’t these words paint a thrilling picture? See, the situation is by the sea during a windy storm. The child is having a whale of a time, dancing away to glory. She hasn’t seen too much of life, but she’s loving it. The poet, meanwhile, is depressed, cynical, heartsick. He’s tasted the bitterness of life, such as the loss of his true love, the death of a still-young, talented friend, the triumph of fools. I mean, is there anything more galling than the triumph of fools? The turbulence of the weather is a cause of joyful celebration for her, but for him, it is a reflection of his inner agony. His harsh tone towards the innocent child – who is unaware of it anyway – becomes understandable when you become aware that the child – Iseult McBride – is the daughter of Maud Gonne, the woman Yeats idolized, who spurned him and added insult to injury by marrying a man he didn’t like at all. I suppose quoting Yeats is a bit of a cliché for an Irish person – in Ireland, saying WB Yeats is a great poet is a bit like saying Michael Jackson was a great singer. It just goes without saying
Film makers have used the technique of making the weather agree with the mood of the subject. Who hasn’t seen lovers walking away from each other forever in the pouring rain, or sailing off together into glorious sunsets? Not that I could name a single film where I’ve actually seen this happening. Or the nefarious culprit unmasked during a thunderstorm? Weather can complement scenes all right. And probably, it has a huge effect on the moods of people. Some people. Not all people. One cannot really generalize about these things. I mean, can it be true that the Nordic countries, which live out cold and dark winters, are full of depressed, vodka-ridden alcoholics? Then it would have to be true that people who live in countries where the sun shines all the time must be full of joy! Of course they’re not. And if it were true that weather has a direct affect on emotions, the Irish would be a joyless lot indeed, living in a cool, damp climate. And that’s just not so. Irish people, in general, are quite good humoured, although there are of course, exceptions.
In the north of
, where I live, we have such extremes of weather, i.e. too hot in summer and too cold in winter that we are forced to just exist through them. My husband Yash says that a person’s capacity to work is drastically reduced in hot weather. One doesn’t seem to accomplish much in those days it is true. And at a time when the children don’t go to school because they simply cannot, it is not really possible for them to enjoy their vacation to the fullest. Hot sun may seem like a real treat to a person who lives in a damp and rather miserable climate, but its not at all nice. The sun literally blinds you and eats your energy. You even need to wear sunscreen in the shade. The only time to move around is in the cool of the morning or evening. And the winters! Oh, yes, the winters, those dry, inland winters where you would love the chance of a warm sea breeze! They most intense days of winter are also just ‘live through’ days. The winter dries up your skin and pinches your spirit. India
Does the weather (or the climate, a long term version of the weather) affect our emotions? Well, it depends. Some people are very affected by what they see. Some by what they hear. Others by the general environment. So depending on how the weather affects any of these factors, a person’s emotions may be affected.
Personally, I always try never to let the outer environment bother me. We have no control over what goes on outside us. I don’t even want to go there. One has enough to do taking care of what goes on inside our heads, keeping ourselves calm and peaceful and positive. Let the bad weather do it’s darndest, I am ready for it all. As it says in Psalm 46 of the Bible:
“God is our strength and protection,
An ever-present help in affliction.
We will not fear, therefore,
Though the earth be shaken
And the mountains plunge into the seas,
Though its waters foam and roar,
Though the mountains quake and totter.
For the Lord of Hosts is with us,
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.”
I believe in every word of this!
This is my weekly post as a member of the Loose Blogging Consortium (LBC) an informal group of bloggers scattered around the globe who post on a given topic at the same time every Friday. Members iare, (in alphabetical order), Ashok, Conrad, me gaelikaa, Grannymar, Helen, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria, Marianna and Ramanaj. If you have some time to spare, please pay a visit to these blogs and see how we have treated the same topic in our own individual way.