discarded lies: monday, august 31, 2015 5:31 am zst
a little down in the mouth
daily archive: 01/08/2008
guest author: zorkmidden in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: zorkmidden in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: Mrs. Lewis in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: solus rex after dark in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: Throbert McGee in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: solus rex in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: סטרמי Stormi in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: solus rex in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: bigel in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: solus rex in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: evariste in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: evariste in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: evariste in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: solus rex in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: Frank I Still B Cheatin' in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: Frank IBCheatin' in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: Frank IBC in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: Right Wing Conspirator in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: Frank IBC in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: V the K in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: evariste in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: papijoe in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: levi from queens in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: Frank IBC in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: V the K in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: Frank IBC in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: papijoe in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: papijoe in Discarded Lies:
Northernness and the Soul of Winter
Once Christmas is past I feel I'm on the brink of an abyss and can barely make out Spring on the other side. Spiritually this is a bleak time, a dry and cold season before the Resurrection. There are however memories of a sustaining wintery austerity. I had not ever given this much thought until I had read deeper into the works of Tolkien and CS Lewis. Both shared an affinity for a profound mood that Lewis called "northernness". Squadrons of scholars have made much of this and they seem to linger on the aspect related to Nordic culture and mythology. Those aspects are certainly catalytic to both authors' discovery and appreciation of this sublime and other-worldly sentiment. And no doubt much of that tradition's finer mythopoetic acheivements are infused with and inspired by this "northernness" But is there a transcendental element unrelated to tribal culture?

Lewis gives us a clear and vivid description of this deep emotion. In his case he first experienced it when reading a Beatrix Potter story as a child. As absurd an association as this might seem to an adult, to his juvenile sensibilities an enduring impression was made:

It troubled me with what I can only describe as the Idea of Autumn. . . . It sounds fantastic to say that one can be enamored of a season, but that is something like what happened and . . . the experience was one of intense desire. And one went back to the book, not to gratify the desire (how can one possess Autumn?) but to reawaken it. - Surprised by Joy


This same mood was evoked even more strongly later in his life by Longfellow's King Olaf:

"I heard a voice, that cried, ëBalder the Beautiful / Is dead, is dead!í


[snip]

And through the misty air / Passed like the mournful cry / Of sunward sailing cranes."
- ibid


Lewis describes his reaction:

I knew nothing about Balder; but instantly I was uplifted into huge regions of northern sky. I desired with almost sickening intensity something never to be described (except that it is cold, spacious, severe, pale and remote) and then . . . found myself at the very same moment already falling out of that desire and wishing I were back in it. - ibid


I've some experience with northernness and as with Lewis the strongest apprension of it occurred when I was a child.

I have a very strong memory of a particularly happy Christmas Day. I could see the snow on the pines in the woods behind the house. Dad had opened up our traditional gift to him, an assortment of sausage and cheeses and was doling out slices of this manna and ambrosia to all who desired them. A deep peace and contentment settled on the house. As we shared this tribal communion, the arctic wind made the tops of the trees sway against the stark blue infinity of sky.

Another strong recurring theme would come later in autumn, usually while traveling a northbound highway with wooded verges. Carried as it was on Canadian winds, there were strong associations with the French-Canadians I grew up with. There were elements of ice fishing, the pitchy smell of sawmills and drying flannel, extinct brands of chewing gum and the antiques that dispensed them. But over all was the presence of a vast northern expanse, the playground of the Wendigo and Manitou. Every year when winter winds make all else silent, it comes back to me.

Tolkien of course shared this sense with Lewis and in fact it was a cornerstone of their friendship. Both men also understood that this uplifting of the soul was a longing for something eternal, similar one can say to Blake's seeing eternity in a grain of sand. In his agnostic phase Lewis equated it with the German concept of sehnsucht or longing.

Tolkien later related it to his term "eucatastrophe". Simple put a eucatastrophe is a happy ending. But it had a special significance for him juxtaposed to the Norse and Finnish epics he studied so deeply [which were, like their Mediterranean analogs, essentially tragic] and in his estimation the Gospel was the greatest example. Lewis similarly converted the mood of northernness into a spiritual value which he called Joy.

I tend to agree that this sentiment is an echo of an eternal transcendental spirtual reality. But I wonder if it is universal. Would someone from a more southern latitude recognize it, or would they have some corresponding mood that had different, less "nordic" trappings?

There may be something uniquely nordic about northernness. I have experienced similar emotions looking at Cartagena from a distance, or a childhood memory of a seascape that I imagined was an Aegean harbor. But maybe I was translating northerness into a different topographical idiom.

It could well be a regional phenomenon. Winter is a disciplinarian and it lends itself more to an asceticism sense of loneliness that distinguishes northernness. One would expect to find more monasteries among the cold mountain peaks than on the shores of a South Sea island.

I do suspect that regardless of origin, we all have a capacity to appreciate northernness. For myself and all I pray blessings from the Infinite through the soul of the season to the souls of us all.

no comments yet
guest author: V the K in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
guest author: annie in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
no comments yet
search & handy links
threads you've been on
linkopotamia
hot threads today
by our guest authors
hippocampus
day-by-day archives
category archives
link lists
colophon
 
recent comments:
Sam
Great... :D
franco cbi
The name of the blog came from Hamsher's three favorite activities - sitting by the fire, with her dog, watching
franco cbi
' Jane Hamsher made the [ announcement ]/ [on July 30] that Firedoglake is shutting down, and all archived
evariste
' Between 1880 and 1920, the residents of a relatively isolated Northern California town called Boonville spoke a secret
kianb
Here is another good interview with Bernie Sanders: [ Bernie Sanders - The Vox conversation ]/
kianb
Interesting comments and ratings. Also at the moment it says: ' Only 1 left in stock. '
kianb
Do one thing jury: please do the needful.
evariste @ large
Please do the needful, jury.
evariste @ large
I hope we get rid of the death penalty, but first, I hope we execute Holmes and Tsarnaev.
evariste @ large
Prepone is pretty good, but I'm really fond of doing the needful.
evariste @ large
Let's kill this fucker while we still can, jury, cuz this death penalty shit is on the way out.
franco cbi
"Prepone" is my very favorite.
franco cbi
With 40% of the ballots counted, "OXI" has 61% of the votes.
franco cbi
In Athens this week, all public transportation is free because people don't have enough cash on hand. :(
franco cbi
[ #1 ]/ evariste @ large Bonus: Sully came out of retirement to mark the occasion.
franco cbi
Even on this issue, I had a shift as well. At first I wasn't really convinced that there was a
franco cbi
The day after I got home from the trip to visit my brother, I went shopping with a friend, and
franco cbi
The change was very gradual between 2005 and 2008. I remember when the discussion of [ Graeme Frost and the
zorkmidden
I also observed that there was no difference between the Tea Party rhetoric and that of the Golden Dawn.
zorkmidden
[ ATM lines in Thessaloniki ]/
 
the hyperlinkopotamus:
Sam left a comment at 12:34 pm 08/26
franco cbi left a comment at 3:11 pm 08/14
evariste left a comment at 10:55 pm 08/12
 
 
Bloggies Of Our Lives
Season One
Season Two
Season Three
Special Guest Episodes
 
Ferkakta
Ferkakta Timeshare Presentation
Postcard from Ferkakta
Ferkakta Is Open For Business
Lord of the Banned: An Epic Trilogy In Three Parts

Ferkakta Games
Codename:Ferkakta Hill
Ferkakta By Night
Shipwrecked
House
 
vital signs
Circulation
last 15 minutes:23
last hour:51
last 24 hours:451
Comments
since midnight:0
last 24 hours:0
in our lifetime:6500