le retour du Sturm und Drang

February, the ancient month of expiation, of purification, draws to a close. A blank page, an ashen sky is all that remains in the dimness of the crepuscule. How sly the calm at the edge of the woods, how it belies this feverish mind. Formed in a seasonless clime, of perpetual blue skies, how blithely ignorant it had been of lúty, ice and únor, of a winter pond, the true names of such times of the year, in these parts.

How the circle is drawn, what had flown far now yearns for the steadfast childhood sun, for the evergreen… but is it so, that we are living one prolonged rumspringa and that we are about to return?

Now that I have experienced what my hero of youth Richard Feverel, venturing out one stormy evening deep into the forest of the Rhine, had experienced, what is the verdict?

«Hiver en Mitteleuropa», 2010
«Hiver en Mitteleuropa», 2010

When he again pursued his course with his face to the Rhine, a huge mountain appeared to rise sheer over him, and he had it in his mind to scale it. He got no nearer to the base of it for all his vigorous outstepping. The ground began to dip; he lost sight of the sky. Then heavy, thunder-drops streak his cheek, the leaves were singing, the earth breathed, it was black before him, and behind. All at once the thunder spoke. The mountain he had marked was bursting over him.

Up startled the whole forest in violet fire. He saw the country at the foot of the hills to the bounding Rhine gleam, quiver, extinguished. Then there were pauses; and the lightning seemed as the eye of heaven, and the thunder as the tongue of heaven, each alternately addressing him; filling him with awful rapture. Alone there— sole human creature among the grandeurs and mysteries of storm— he felt the representative of his kind, and his spirit rose, and marched, and exulted, let it be glory, let it be ruin! Lower down the lightened abysses of air rolled the wrathful crash; then white thrusts of light were darted from the sky, and great curving ferns, seen steadfast in pallor a second, were supernaturally agitated, and vanished. Then a shrill song roused in the leaves and the herbage. Prolonged and louder it sounded, as deeper and heavier the deluge pressed. A mighty force of water satisfied the desire of the earth.

— Chapter 52, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, George Meredith

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