The phrase pathetic fallacy is a literary term for the attribution of human emotion and conduct to things found in nature that are not human. It is a kind of personification that occurs in poetic descriptions, when, for example, clouds seem sullen, when leaves dance, or when rocks seem indifferent. The British cultural critic John Ruskin coined the term in the third volume of his work Modern Painters (1856).
As people prepare to depart from Buttonwood Bay at the end of the season, a mournful mist has today descended upon Key Largo. For the first time in a long while the possibility of disturbance, maybe some rain, is imminent. But no one cares. There are other things in mind to complement the dreary skies. Without question the atmosphere throughout Buttonwood Bay has been altered by the exodus within the environment. The preoccupation is now disengagement not contribution; packing up not putting out. Perceptibly the avenues of participation have narrowed. The evidence of disconnection and unfastening abounds whether in the parking lots of the townhouses and condominiums or along the boating inlets. Commensurately a subdued din prevails. The evacuations are punctuated by the random presence and inspection of the landlords, a noticeably different breed from the seasonal interlopers of indiscriminate and boisterous mind. The crisp edges of commerce now allay the scene.
Nonetheless there persists modest communication between those of us who remain here for the moment. But it is impossible to escape the overall feeling of mass departure. Our own thoughts are similarly consumed by the advent of migration. These sensibilities are fed by the intelligence of our neighbours and others regarding their immediate ambitions of travel along the North Atlantic Ocean northward to places like Jacksonville Beach and St. Augustine. We too are beginning to curtail our provisional purchases, contemplating places nearby at which to dine instead.
The skies this afternoon were filled with billowing white clouds. Occasionally there were tiny droplets of rain. But aside from some lingering dark grey clouds, the weather was predominantly sunny and clear. As is my custom I spent the majority of the afternoon lounging by the pool, chatting with the few remaining residents all of whom are about to depart either tomorrow or within the next week. After that we shall be facing a singularly quiet period here, different from the mounting anticipation of last November, now characterized by what is literally tantamount to boarding up the place in preparation for the hurricane season.
As fate would have it, today I chanced to meet a couple whom I have seen walking together frequently. They are from Gary, Indiana. I undertook on their behalf a modest photographic venture. I am not entirely pleased with what I produced but it will have to do. As Mrs C and I agreed today when chatting by the pool, some things just don’t matter anymore. Our wistful smiles at the provocation of the moot point did not however disguise the greater purpose of simply doing one’s best without regret. The reflective bent blended with the elements of retreat which now predominate every activity and exchange. Frankly the causality has proven to be a welcome diaspora for me. Meeting people and insinuating new technology (TeamReach) is for me rewarding.