The Northernness

“If you’re full of beauty and positive things it’s harder for stuff to get to you. Joy is not a luxury that you can tack on when you’ve sorted everything out, joy is how you will sort out your problems… I’m reading ‘A History of God’ by Karen Armstrong. I’m working on a couple of projects where I look at the origins of God. Why did we invent this guy? And what’s his relevance now?” (Caitlin Moran, quoted by Imogen Carter in The Guardian)

These remarks by Caitlin Moran triggered a memory of a book that had an impact on me in high school: C. S. Lewis’s “Surprised by Joy.” It’s a biographical account of his conversion to Catholicism. Growing up in sun-baked coastal Texas, I was struck by his fascination with what he termed the “northernness,” which I recall as his way of describing a shapeless spiritual yearning which later was fulfilled, for him, by Christian faith.

I had a similar obsession then with things northern, a longing for relief from endless summer, that came out in a sonnet I wrote for senior English class. The sonnet’s lost, but its title was “L’Aquilon,” French for the North Wind. It evoked, in strict meter, how the first “norther” of the season, usually in October, refreshed my spirit and gave me strength to carry on with my adolescence!

(Copyright 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.)

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
This entry was posted in Commentary, Quotations and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.