ADJACENCY #43: In the Bleak Mid-Winter

      There are two winters.  One, in which the earth merely rests beneath the clampdown of cold.  This is the exhausted earth, taking a breather.  And then there’s the other winter, in which the cessation of fecundity seem final, where what lies beneath the season’s deprivations seems unlikely ever to recover.  This is winter as the dark night of the soul, as the desert of bureaucracy, as nuclear winter, as bleakness without end, amen.   
     Nature is, of course, resourceful.  It—she?—wants to bring back bounty.  It’s really a question of how much we fight it.  
     Sometimes we drag in the Pathetic Fallacy to convince ourselves how hopeless things are.  Today’s Lee Ka-sing photographs—the two of them so tenuously abutted—are, for me, a manifestation of the pathetic fallacy writ panoramic.  Widescreen desiccation and loss.
     The Pathetic Fallacy is a mysterious trope.  That’s when we see the larger, external world as an outering of the inner one that we experience as the site of our feelings.  The pathetic fallacy is readymade, store-bought length of portable discouragement.  It’s always out there if we want it.  It’s not the real outer world at all; it’s just us, staring balefully at what we think is out there, beyond our bodies.  We see bleakness and despair by wearing what poet William Blake called our “mind-forged manacles.”
     It’s holiday time now, and you’d think the shroud-like curtain of the pathetic fallacy would lift.  But more and more it hovers there, grey and damp and ready to extinguish the light from our lives.  We can work against it of course.  We can work towards a return to civility, to kindness in culture-at-large, to an end to moral crudity, to flash-point anger, to racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, to Islamophopbia (and all the other phobias), to Usura (as Ezra Pound liked to call runaway capitalism), and to every other pseudo-force that mauls our humanness.           
     Who knows, maybe somebody will impeach
Donald Trump and start listening seriously to Noam Chomsky.  And then the first croci will push up through this winter of our discontent.