Tuesday, September 22, 2020

'Better Employed Than in Gaping After Weather'

 “How beautiful the season is now—How fine the air. A temperate sharpness about it.”


The autumnal equinox arrives today at 8:31 a.m. CST, but autumn in Texas is scarcely distinguishable from spring, summer and even some winters. A few degrees cooler but no discernable sharpness. For a transplanted Northerner, most disappointing are the leaves – still green, still on the trees. Natives will hardly notice. People in Houston are preoccupied with whether Beta – the ninth landfall storm of the season -- will mutate from tropical storm to hurricane and how much rain will fall in the next several days. The distance from Houston to Galveston on the Gulf of Mexico is roughly fifty miles and, as I write, people there are already getting clobbered. Since Hurricane Harvey’s arrival three years ago, I’ve never paid so much attention to weather forecasts.


The passage quoted at the top is from the letter Keats wrote to his friend John Hamilton Reynolds on this date, September 22, in 1819. He goes on:


“Really, without joking, chaste weather—Dian skies—I never liked stubble-fields so much as now—Aye better than the chilly green of the Spring. Somehow, a stubble-field looks warm—in the same way that some pictures look warm. This struck me so much in my Sunday’s walk that I composed upon it.”


Three days earlier Keats had something else to say about autumn. To his letter he adds: “I hope you are better employed than in gaping after weather. I have been at different times so happy as not to know what weather it was—No I will not copy a parcel of verses.”

No comments: