27 April 2011

you can't stop the beat

My new favorite book is The Great Gatsby. I like books with ridiculous amounts of symbolism where not many things actually happen. Examples include Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Namesake, The Awakening. You probably recognize most of them because they are classics and we have to read them for school. All I ever read is assigned reading from AP Lang, articles from NPR and The New York Times, and various vignettes in my anatomy book, from the pathway of food through the colon to urine formation.
What I like in Gatsby is the weather symbolism. It's simple, but it's really important and it's great imagery. Daisy comes to Nick house and it's raining, thus the encounter with Gatsby is horrible. But then the sun comes out and they are fawning over each other, completely infatuated and lovesick.

Speaking of weather, at the moment Alabama is under a "severe weather" warning. There's a big storm coming, and since I happen to dwell geographically close to Alabama, we are hit with this orage also. We had a bad one the other day, as you might remember from my banana pancakes post. If not, go read it.

I believe that weather is completely based on our emotions. If we are elated, it's sunny. If we are sad, it's raining. Or, if this little proposition doesn't work, I have another explanation. If we are sad, angry, etc., sunny weather will remind us to appreciate the short life we have. We aren't here for long - when should we spend it sad?

And this is why we have storms: we always get too caught up in our lives to remember what really matters. We live in our microcosms and we forget about everything that is going on in the world, like a war, the dilapidation of a country, a group of countries undergoing revolutions, and the "background" - world hunger, poverty, gender discrimination, abysmal economies. How much do you pay attention to world affairs? Other than the CNN updates I get on my iPad, I don't. We are too consumed with our own lives.

So how do storms help? Don't they just destruct things? That is entirely the point.

We are all humans, right? And basically we are all different. In every single possible way. Even identical twins are different. We are entirely different from one another. But one thing that we can't change is death - it's inevitable - and nature. Nature is the most powerful physical force in the world, and storms are something we can't manipulate. The farthest we have every come in meteorology is being able to tell what the weather will be tomorrow, and the next day. In every other science we have learned how to manipulate the physical world - even in space - and use it to our advantage. I just recently read an article about how scientists are creating rain in the desert. Even this isn't too crazy, but when we think about it, it is as revolutionary as the printing press was of the fifteenth century.

We don't like to think of ourselves as primitive. We just don't.

But we have not learned how to manipulate the weather because it is to strong for us and we can't outsmart it. Japan, for example. We can provide reports upon reports of data on seismic waves and scientific explanations about how and why it happened. But we can't stop it.

I mean, if we could control the weather, then Japan would not be in the news as much as it is now.

The weather, especially storms, remind us that we are all humans and we are not invincible. They bring us down to earth and keep us grounded. Or, in the case of tornadoes, they don't.

I hope we never have the capability to control the weather. Because what will become of us then? When we have defeated our planet?

Take storms for what they are. They're here to help us, whether or not you want to believe it.

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