Pathetic Fallacy

La tempête by Pierre Auguste Cot

A pathetic fallacy refers to the idea (prominent in nineteenth century Romantic literature, but also everywhere in films and TV) that human emotions correspond to a certain type of weather. Usually, gloomy, nostalgic, melancholic, sad or otherwise lethargic moods are associated with cold, rain, thunder, wind, clouds or any combination of these. On the other hand, the sunlight represents happiness, positive energy and good vibes in general. While this may seem like an overused, cliché trope, I do find myself at ease with negative emotions when the weather is bad. I embrace these emotions fully when I see my surroundings seem to have given up too to cold and rain.

Likewise, I tend to think of myself in more positive terms when it’s sunny and warm outside. I feel less at ease with negativity when I see a clear sky and feel the sunrays gently caressing my bare skin. Could this be a case of seasonal depression? I doubt it, since I have never been diagnosed with depression nor show symptoms of prolonged depression during the winter nor summer.

The answer lies in both a culturally conditioned habit of thinking of weather in such binary terms (good and bad) and a biological need for sunlight that extends to the psychological realm (humans need it to absorb important nutrients). Currently, however, I am glad summer weather is finally making way for chilly fall weather. I had missed temperatures below sixty degrees and the feel of a cold breeze dancing with a weak 6 pm sunshine. It’s wonderful to drink tea or coffee and build a pillow fortress in your bed to chase away the cold. Change feels good.

I am a creature of warm weathers. My childhood in Mexico and my teenage years in South Carolina have not prepared me very well for the cold, so I do wonder sometimes if I would survive in the North, where snow covers towns for months. Technology makes warming the indoors easy, but everybody needs outdoors time too to exercise their bodies and stimulates their minds. But let me abandon the uncertainty of moving and instead enjoy the sweater weather I have been craving since fall made its entrance.

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