Awful Weather + Marcus Aurelius

     The weather right now is so violent that the warm, heavy rain is literally falling sideways.  The raindrops are falling sideways

      I have been fascinated, intimidated, and disgusted with the weather here since I visited on a family vacation years ago.  The Tri-State area is a top-5 contender for Worst Weather in the United States.  New Yorkers don’t realize how shitty and  bizarre their weather is.  Many of them don’t know that freezing Slurpee/margarita-consistency rain/snow when it’s 20* outside is a unique NYC weather phenomenon.  Or the deep freezes, when it’s approx. -*8 (yes, negative 8 degrees) at the warmest point of the day for three weeks on end.  How did Indians  and early colonists survive the winters without parkas and puffy coats and ski tights? Well, the Indians got by, but the Europeans…notsomuch).The roasting heat and humidity of the summer–the humidity makes you sweat even if it’s 60* outside.  The air is saturated with dense, warm mist–it makes your skin wet.  Everyone sweats through their clothes in the subway.  The men do, even if they wear an undershirt.  If you’re a woman, forget about applying your makeup before you make your commute.  Even with the train AC blasting, you will sweat it off your face before you arrive at your destination.  It will also ruin your hairdo.  ANY hairdo.   It will ruin a ponytail. 

      Damn.  I began this blog post with the intention of discussing passages in the Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius.  I’ve re-read his work in the last few days, and my brain is full of it. I am not a philosophy scholar, but there’s much in the text which I find provocative and useful.  

      You should check it out.  It’s free online if you don’t have a book!  

     I intend to write a longer blog post about this in the next few days, but I’ve been ruminating at length about this one:  

A branch cut off from the adjacent branch must of necessity be cut off from the whole tree also. So too a man when he is separated from another man has fallen off from the whole social community. Now as to a branch, another cuts it off, but a man by his own act separates himself from his neighbour when he hates him and turns away from him, and he does not know that he has at the same time cut himself off from the whole social system. Yet he has this privilege certainly from Zeus who framed society, for it is in our power to grow again to that which is near to us, and be to come a part which helps to make up the whole. However, if it often happens, this kind of separation, it makes it difficult for that which detaches itself to be brought to unity and to be restored to its former condition.Finally, the branch, which from the first grew together with the tree, and has continued to have one life with it, is not like that which after being cut off is then ingrafted, for this is something like what the gardeners mean when they say that it grows with the rest of the tree, but that it has not the same mind with it. 

       The proverb says: You can’t go home again. 

        How do the alienated, or the addicted, integrate themselves back into meaningful social life…?  

      More on this later.  I have been thinking about it very much.  Now, however, I’m tired.  

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