“The dog days of summer are fading into autumn like the memories of a photo.”
That was one of my friends’ Whatsapp status and I told him I like it. He replied that autumn is his favourite season. I like all the seasons.
Every season is unique. Every season has something I enjoy.
Perhaps Vivaldi also felt something like that about the seasons and therefore composed the Four Seasons? I will listen to each season while writing about my experience of the seasons. And that is when I discover that each Season is based on a sonnet!
The peasant celebrates with song and dance the harvest safely gathered in.
The cup of Bacchus flows freely, and many find their relief in deep slumber.Adagio molto
The singing and the dancing die away
as cooling breezes fan the pleasant air,
inviting all to sleep
without a care.Allegro
The hunters emerge at dawn,
ready for the chase,
with horns and dogs and cries.
Their quarry flees while they give chase.
Terrified and wounded, the prey struggles on,
but, harried, dies.
That is the thing of Autumn. It is the harsh hot days of summer that starts mellowing. Days grow shorter and nights longer. Days can still be hot, but the nights are cool, even cold. It is in between weather – between the duvet and no duvet. Between I am freezing without the duvet and I am sweating under the duvet.
With earth cooling down, it becomes more pleasant to be outside during the day. Less so in the evening. Autumn colors paints the trees and plants in shades of red and hues of brown.
Autumn, a season of dying. But dying is part of living. Perhaps we need to die to live? Morrie said: “the truth is, Mitch,” he said. “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” (Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom). If we fear death, we will live small, we will try to play it safe in an effort to escape the inescapable! Autumn reminds us that we need to die to live, in a sense.
Slowly red turns to brown and brown turns into tree skeletons against the sky. And it is winter.
|Allegro non molto
Shivering, frozen mid the frosty snow in biting, stinging winds;
running to and fro to stamp one’s icy feet, teeth chattering in the bitter chill.Largo
To rest contentedly beside the hearth, while those outside are drenched by pouring rain.
Indeed winter brings its own delights. In winter I wear jerseys. Over sized and with cables and polo necks. And when I pull that jersey over my head, I feel snug. Winter is a time for soup. Bean soup, peasoup, vegetable soup, lentil soup cooking for hours and filling the house with an aroma that changes a house to a home. It is a time for curry and oxtail stew.
It is a time to sit at the fire or heater, just doing nothing or reading a book. Days are short, nights are long. Getting into bed under the fluffy winter duvet is a cuddly comfort. Long nights are made to rest and recuperate. To build and recover the energy spent in spring and summer to make a living and prepare for winter.
The cold is refreshing and exhilarating. Since I always end a shower under cold water, I feel energized after my showers. Winter is fresh and clean. Winter is death. The big rest.
Then, slowly, I grow tired of wearing a jersey every day. The nights become too long. And then one morning when you again wake up early, you realise the sun is out of its sleep earlier! Nights get shorter, days get longer. Wonderful, crisp clear days with a hazy blue sky.
And then one day you leave the house and you see the tree has a fresh green shine. New leaves are budding. And you realise – it is spring. Earth is waking up again.
Springtime is upon us.
The birds celebrate her return with festive song,
and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes.
Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven,
Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.Largo
On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.
Springtime is upon is. There is a new lightness in the air. It is as if everybody is friendlier. Springtime brings new opportunities and a new optimism.
The calves gambol and the foals and springbuck prances. The weavers start building nests draped in bright colors that no self-respecting female weaver can ignore. The frogs play their bassoon concertos and the crickets caress the strings of the double bass.
Evenings grow mellow. Jerseys make way for long sleeve t-shirts, pt-pants and sandals. There is a joy and gaiety wherever you go.
The fields turn green and the crop grows. In the Western Cape, where I live, the green becomes shades of yellow as the canola and wheat start to ripen. It becomes a kaleidoscope of colors bursting forth and announcing a new harvest season.
Spring has become summer!
|Allegro non molto
Beneath the blazing sun’s relentless heat men and flocks are sweltering,
pines are scorched.
We hear the cuckoo’s voice; then sweet songs of the turtle dove and finch are heard.
Soft breezes stir the air….but threatening north wind sweeps them suddenly aside. The shepherd trembles, fearful of violent storm and what may lie ahead.Adagio e piano – Presto e forte
His limbs are now awakened from their repose by fear of lightning’s flash and thunder’s roar, as gnats and flies buzz furiously around.
A time of hard work and harvesting under the blazing sun – dog days! Days of living in t-shirts and pt-shorts. Long days and short nights allowing us to do everything we need to do. To enjoy the fruit of our work in spring and winter, but also prepare for the coming autumn and winter.
Nights to sit outside until late and watch the stars. That is why I know the summer sky so much better than the winter sky! Nights to enjoy Orion and speculate about his spear and wounded shoulder and wondering whether Betelgeuse still exists (it is 642 lightyears from earth). Looking for Aldebaran, the eye of the Bull and Sirius, the Dog Star and the brightest star. And Castor and Pollok – Gemini, my stars.
Summer a time for the beach and swimming.
And then the heat and long days become tiring, you run out of energy. And one morning you wake up and it is still dark and you become aware that days are getting shorter, nights are getting longer.
Autumn is coming.
An ever repeating cycle of dying and rising. Until the Nazi’s abused and desicrated it, the Swastika symbolized this ever repeating cycle. It still does, it just got a bad connotation due to the Nazis. A new season rising, a new season fading is what the Swastika symbolises.
Perhaps spring is birth to puberty. Summer is teenage to adulthood and autumn is old age and winter dying and death? And as we cycle through the year in and year out, we grow. We live, we experience the good and bad of life. We gain wisdom (hopefully). Above all, as we go through the seasons, we also symbolically go through the seasons of our lives.
And when we finally arrive at “House Autumn Leaves,” we know life in all its colors and hues. We have lived.
And when I arrive there soon, I hope I can sing, like John Denver in Poems and Prayers and Promises:
How sweet it is to love someone, how right it is to care.
How long it’s been since yesterday, what about tomorrow
and what about our dreams and all the memories we share?
I have lived all the seasons to the fullest of my ability.