Dette emne er markeret som "i hvile"—det seneste indlæg er mere end 90 dage gammel. Du kan vække emnet til live ved at poste et indlæg.
However, they do serve a useful purpose as an introduction to metaphor. As in learning any craft - and there is an element of craft to poetry- starting with the simple is how we learn the complex. So we can learn to understand for example Shakespear's "Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang" by using the cold barreness of winter as an introduction to the deeper cold & emptyness of loss.
Growing up in Texas, I unconsciously absorbed the impression that I didn't live in the sort of place people were supposed to live in. All the stories in my reading textbooks were about children growing up in places where the leaves turned brilliant colors in the fall and it was snowy through the winter. I had never known seasons like that. Once, we had a story about a boy whose family had moved to Arizona or someplace like that, and he assuaged his sense of loss by building a cactus garden or something of the sort. How awful, the story seemed to say, to have to live in a strange, barren place where there were no true seasons, but how admirable for this plucky boy to make the best of so awful a situation in such a creative way. Well, fine. We should all be so plucky in times of disaster. But I felt rather disrespected for living somewhere other than in New England.
And there really are seasons elsewhere. They are just different in their expression, and perhaps more subtle in some ways, than the typical New England seasons.
I like it. I like the way we basically spend the summer waiting for death, and the winter waiting for life. My favorite seasons are fall and spring - the between-seasons, where you know you're building to something, but you keep falling back into where you were. This fall, I'll look forward to winter, and pine for it, and think it's finally coming, but then I'll wake up and it'll be eighty degrees again.
It's perfect. It's like life. And not in that typical "We're born, we grow, we wither, we die" way. It's like the way life plays with you and messes with your head, and how you can never pin it down to anything, and it's full of irony, but is ultimately satisfying.
To go along with a discussion we are having on a different thread about self-indulgence: One of the ways I found to subvert my own tendencies toward self-indulgence in my work is to overlay my experience with myth. It works nicely as long as one is not too obvious about it. This connects experience to something universal, and, hopefully, people feel that, whether they actually recognize the myth or not.
But isn't it lovely to feel the sun on your cheek, that little brush of warmth, when everything around you is frozen? I love that. It's like the prettiest girl in class picked me out and gave me a kiss.
Winter doesn't beat me up, though, summer does. Like right now, today. We have no AC, and it is so hot in the house.
The warm sun and the cool/cold air is heavenly, yes it is.
You know, I haven't read Member of the Wedding. And I just love Carson McCullers. I guess I better get on it. In the meantime, I'm basking in the balmy Boston "summer." We got up to the mid-eighties a few days ago, and I thought I might even break a sweat. Meanwhile, all the old cronies down in Georgia are sweltering in hundred-plus heat. Suckers! (Isn't "Sucker" a great McCullers story? Weird connection.) I hope the heat lets up in Ohio. I know how bad no A/C can be. Last summer, when I was in Baltimore, I didn't have A/C, and I was on the top floor of an 8 story high-rise in hundred degree heat. It was miserable.
I don't know if you ever read the story "August Heat." I don't know who it's by, and I'm not sure it exists (I might have imagined it), but there's a guy who goes insane in the August heat and then wanders past a cemetery where he sees his own grave, and the death date is the very day he's walking past. The story ends...well, if it does exist, I don't want to spoil it. But, I felt like the guy going insane in the heat.
I found a PDF copy of "August Heat" by W. F. Harvey. It begins,
"I have had what I believe to be the most remarkable day in my life, and while the events are still fresh in my mind, I wish to put them down on paper as clearly as possible."
Isn't this a wonderful anthem for writers?
The ending of "August Heat":
(makes me think of Roethke's heat maddened summer fly)
We are sitting now in a long, low room beneath the eaves. Atkinson has sent his wife to bed. He himself is busy sharpening some tools at a little oilstone, smoking one of my cigars the while.
The air seems charged with thunder. I am writing this at a shaky table before the open window.
The leg is cracked, and Atkinson, who seems a handy man with his tools, is going to mend it as soon as he has finished putting an edge on his chisel.
It is after eleven now. I shall be gone in less than an hour.
But the heat is stifling.
It is enough to send a man mad.
I think I know what you mean about "August Heat." It seems to me the lack of modifiers gives the prose a cleanliness that keeps us from knowing too much too soon.
lso William Peden's "Night in Funland"
Price Day's "4 O'Clock"
William Sansom's "The Vertical Ladder,"
Elias Venezis's "The Sea Gulls"
Borden Deal's "Antaeus"
Howard Nemerov's "Exchange of Men"
Daniel Keyes's "Flowers for Algernon"
Shirley Jackson's "One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts"
Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"
Jack Finney's "Contents of a Dead Man's Pocket"
Geoffrey Household's "As Best He can"
Stephen Vincent Benet's "Too Early Spring"
I was thirteen when I read these stories.
Another weather disaster comes from the man made reservoirs in our area. There are forty or fifty of these in the DFW area covering hundreds of thousands of acres, of course during the heat of the summer these reservoirs evaporate millions of gallons of water into the atmosphere which is naturally dry. This evaporation raises the humidity to unbearable volumes. In the summer we live in our airconditioned houses, drive to our airconditioned destinations in our airconditioned cars, and work in our airconditioned offices. Misery all around.
In the fall the leaves on our trees go from tired, leathery green straight to dry brown. The only trees that have color are the few imported Maples. Our fall display reminds me of a dull, dreary, tired earth-toned blanket.
The winter is the only time we have decent weather. Days are usually in the forties and fifties, occasionally we will get into the eighties and nineties for a brief time. We do get occasional snows, but mostly they are cause for excitement and a teaching moment or two.
Kindergartener: Look, the sky is falling, the sky is falling!
Teacher: No, no, the sky isn't falling, that's called snow, it's very rare and you must remember this moment so you can tell your grandchildren that you have seen it.
The spring is rather pedestrian. The soil in most of the area is pH 11+. Not much that makes pretty blooms grows at that level of alkilinity.
I dream of snow. When I think about retiring, I can't make up my mind between the Dalmatian Coast, New England, or Western Virginia. Funny how Texas is off the bottom of my list.
Your joke about the snow bringing teaching moments made me chuckle, and reminded me of a story I heard about some children in West Texas during the terrible drought of 1884. They were playing outside when a few drops of rain fell, and they ran inside shouting to their parents, "Water is falling out of the sky!"
Yet the season is one that inspires melancholy. It is sad to see things wither & grow old, just as it is sad to see our loved ones grow old & fragile. Yet it is part of life's pattern, time's turning wheel. A comforting thought which is expressed on a grief site I visit is that the time which passes since we bid our loved one goodbye also brings us closer to that time when we may meet again.
I'm an amateur gardener. I love each season for different reasons.
Spring is my chance to start over, to promise myself to weed and renew paths and plant. I love having a clean slate after the ground thaws. Crocuses pop up over the front yard and fairy houses appear where ever my children roam. I also get more exercise because I push around my eco-friendly reel mower.
Summer is family time. We homeschool during the other seasons. In summer, we kick back in the hammock or on a tree limb and read for the joy of reading. Usually we take turns sharing a book or two and spend evenings discussing it or hanging over my husband's shoulder as he catches up with us. My youngest keeps cool by hanging under the spray as I water my young plantings.
Autumn is about color, the bright purple asters, red sedums and leaves that dazzle the eyes in fiery hues. The cool breezes are welcome after the sticky heat of summer and I'm ready to wave a white flag to the weeds that got out of control again. And who can resist a big pile of leaves in the middle of the yard? It's like cleaning up after a wild party. There is a lot to do, but we have no regrets.
Winter is best with a cup of hot chocolate at an icy window, watching the snow fall. I always feel cheated if we have a mild winter. We love snow. It gives us a chance to build snow creatures and put snow faces on the trees.
This is already long and I haven't even mentioned our birds, wildlife and insects. Seasons are about experiencing nature. Where ever you are, if you get out into the natural world you will notice the change of seasons. Get out and enjoy the view!
But I couldn't trust anything, or anyone, in a place where there weren't seasons. There's something missing in the hearts of places and people that live without death and rebirth.
Plus it smells really good when they start burning leaves.
Fall signals the time when in a month or two the temps will finally drop below 90 (32C) on a regular basis. The nights will drop into the sixties (16 - 20C) regularly and the breeze will blow, clearing out the hot, dirty air.
Finally, at the very end of fall (mid-December) the trees will finally drop their brown, dead leaves. Of course by then the temps are routinely in the 50's (10 -15C.) and there will be at least three months before the temps get back up to 90 again.
Yes, Fall is my favorite season, just for the breather it affords before having to psychologically gear up for the spring/summer.
One final comment for you gardeners out there who look forward to spring, here unless you replace your soil down to four or five feet your gardening choices are limited. The pH is 11+.
And as to you Life I reckon you are the leavings of many deaths,
(No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before.)
Gene, your comment about getting relief from summer resonates with me. I always loved to feel summer ending when I lived in NC. I still feel the same way, just not as profoundly, since summers are not nearly so hot here. But that association of fall with relief from the heat will always be with me. Also I used to just love the start of a new school year, buying books, supplies--new clothes that I mistakingly thought would make me into a "new" person that would be more confident, better liked.
Talbin, you're reminding me that the early Celts also considered fall (or winter, since they recognized only two seasons) as the beginning of the new year. For them, the "day" began at sundown, and the year at Samhain (Halloween) with the beginning of winter. The dark time when people slept and the winter time when the nights were long and seeds rested in the earth seemed like the real time of beginnings to them.
Fall was wonderful during that idyllic time. I planted bulbs and perennials and my son helped. He learned that beautiful things (plants) need nurture and some stress and to be fed and watered. I felt I was teaching him the cycle of life and relearning it myself every year.
I have to admit I do not like the cold. I truly am a daughter of the south, snow is to be looked at from inside, next to a nice fire, with a cup of hot cider in hand. It is a good time to hibernate and read. I have, and I hope my son has memories of the two of us lying on the couch, one at either end, reading for hours. We would stack some snacks and drinks on the coffee table and sink into our companionable literary pursuits. My husband never quite 'got it'. "How can you just read all day. You need to get out, get some exercise, breathe that good cold air." I used to offer him an aspirin and a cold cloth for his forehead! :-)
Spring is when it all begins again, except in Chicago Spring is sometimes two days long and sometimes it's winter one day and summer the next, around about the middle of June. Gardening there can be frustrating there, unless you learn to just accept that's the way it is. I learned to wait until late May to plant anything very tender. When I went to the nursery, I picked out hardy,'invasive' plants. When, as always happened, I lost plants, I turned the ground over and told the lost one, "enrich this soil so the next plant will have a better chance. For me gardening became a spiritual exercise.
Now I live in the Sonoran or 'green' desert. Contrary to what many people believe, there are seasons here. They are just subtle and you must stop and look to be aware. Yes the summers are miserably hot, but we never run our A/C below 78 degrees. Who wants to wear a sweater because of the cold, in July. We visit our son who lives in a cool clime during the hot time. I do my indoor crafting, painting, sewing, reading and writing. In the Fall, the temps start dropping, I go out early and trim back my somewhat neglected garden. I have an automatic watering system that does not fling water into the air. This is when I introduce new plants. I'm attempting to create a desert cottage garden, indigenous, hardy plants that survive in this area.
Then winter with it's fifty degree days and sunshine. This is when my husband and I go to the workshop and build and repair. We buy old furniture items, sometimes we pick them up on the side of the road. If they cannot be restored, we take them apart and I incorporate them into my art. But we are working together. I continue to putter about in the garden, there's always something needs to be done.
This is a long post, my point is, when you push the world away and look with calm eyes, you can see the season, see the reason and take comfort that, at least in your small space, it is as it should. Then, you can take that peace and joy out into the world and give something back.
I don't like driving after dark (Last year my daughter collided with a deer on her way home to Woodville, she wasn't hurt, but her car was. The deer managed to get away, although her friends searched for it.
So it's back inside our little cocoons, venturing out to put up X-mas decorations & telling our "sun-bird" neighbors "See you in the Spring."
Here, the weather is hot and more hot, generally. But this past week, we had a cold front! (ah, it got down to the mid 50's... eek!) So now I'm wearing my sweater to go to the beach in the morning, but the water is still nice and warm. Down here we have to enjoy this brief coolness, it's all we get of winter. But it is glorious and I love it when we have a cool Thanksgiving (anything under 75 is welcome!) It sucks when we have to turn on the air conditioning because the turkey cooking in the oven made it too hot in the house!
#41 - the Sonoran desert near Tucson, AZ, is really beautiful! The cactus! They are so incredible.