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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
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By Gary DeNeal
Gary DeNeal is the editor and publisher since 1985 of Springhouse, a bi-monthly magazine focusing on the history and lore of southeastern Illinois.
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By Gary DeNeal
June 16, 2013 12:01 a.m.

We complain about it, clothe ourselves against it or strip down because of it, make jokes about it, and, despite best efforts to the contrary, are at its mercy, always.


 


Hailed as this country’s greatest writer by one literary critic, dismissed as the most pretentious by another, Cormac McCarthy gifts us with “weathers of the heart.” McCarthy’s Suttree is fascinating reading, and may or may not be worthy of shelf space  next to Huckleberry Finn, but what matters most to this reader is “weathers of the heart.” Don’t ask for the page. Look it up for yourself.


 


The pilot light of the furnace is the crown jewel of our household. One noon the wind roared through the front door scattering papers and extinguishing the pilot light. That gust necessitated my digging an extra jacket out of the closet. Getting the pilot light relit was anything but easy.


 


That’s a little thing, to be sure, less than an aside when compared to the devastation caused by tornado, flood, or hurricane, yet it does serve as a reminder the authority the individual pretends to possess is laughable compared to the impact of weather.


 


A personal note is surely allowed.


 


Weather, you are a robber of sleep and a shredder of schedules, and your intent seems to be to draw the would-be photographer outdoors at a time when good sense says get more rest. Of course, more often than not the camera’s best settings result in splotches and blurs hardly worth posterity’s shrug. And speaking of your magnet-like ability to draw a body forth when reason says otherwise, how about those wee hours when the lightning announces thunder to follow, and the dog barks every time the house shakes, which is often, and in ways too subtle to recount here, one is led to believe somewhere out there is that photograph of a lifetime?


 


I’m not ashamed to admit it—you hold me in your grip.


 


Shadows are close but weather is closer. It’s right up there with pulse and heartbeat, that next breath. It’s the surrounding presence easily approached by a joke or a warning, but the real challenge is to “trap” even a hint of its awesomeness in digital amber.


 


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