I always remember how during literature classes in high-school I had my opinions about poets in general. I recall as we once studied about Byron’s poetry and the general “spleen” feeling of helplessness. I also recall numerous other, turn of century, poets who could write amazing poetry. In my head there were to simple answers for this, besides poetic genius. Byron probably felt his “spleen” because of good old British weather. The latter guys most probably frequented brothels, slept with hookers and drank a cognac topped of with opium…What better source of inspiration than that?
Why weather? Quite simple….British, Dutch and in general North-Western European Atlantic weather just kills your soul. And this isn’t some crazy conclusion of my November affected brain. It gets darker sooner than in more southern countries. At 16.30 p.m. it is already dark, the day break is way after 7 a.m. and you start having proper daylight after 8 a.m.
Looking outside the window I have only one plan in my mind. Staying home all day, but of course it is not possible because modern society requires us to do things that are just against basic physiology. The weather has been like this for over a month and a half now, and this was my greatest fear materialized. It is the heaviest, greyest, soul-sucking weather you can imagine. There are no clouds, no sunlight. It is a constant mass of pale grey light that people here have to call sky. Rain is ever present. Almost each day you end up wet. Nothing really happens basically. It is a dull, pointless, shapeless mood without any true feelings. Days merge together, your notion of days and weeks become a big mass of something. A something that right now I have to call everyday life.
You get up in the morning without the will to do anything. You know the sky didn’t change, you know daylight is almost over in a couple of hours and most probably the rain and wind will make you think twice before leaving your house. But of course even in such conditions you have to ignore it. Go to the university, go to work, do your daily duties in complete weather ignorance. I know the Dutch are good at it, I know I am not. I just cannot ignore the weather. It is a ruthless soul-sucking device, taking away your basic will of getting up in the morning. When your body says no to everything, you still have to go ahead, and act like everything is just fine. It just doesn’t work for me.
If Byron would have been drinking a nice mojito on a South American beach, next to the company of a gorgeous woman, I think he would’ve given rise to the “splash” and not “spleen” feeling. Man, Byron, why didn’t you get on a boat and at least sail to Spain?
Maastricht – 10th dec 2009