(Photos by the author, Oxfordshire Spring Rape, Whangamata Harbour Summer, Hamilton City Autumn Leaves, New Forest Winter Ponies)
PRAY but one prayer for me ‘twixt thy closed lips,
Think but one thought of me up in the stars.
The summer night waneth, the morning light slips,
Faint and gray ‘twixt the leaves of the aspen, betwixt the cloud-bars,
That are patiently waiting there for the dawn:
Patient and colourless, though Heaven’s gold
Waits to float through them along with the sun.
Far out in the meadows, above the young corn,
The heavy elms wait, and restless and cold
The uneasy wind rises; the roses are dun;
Through the long twilight they pray for the dawn
Round the lone house in the midst of the corn.
Speak but one word to me over the corn,
Over the tender, bow’d locks of the corn.
Summer Dawn - William Morris 1843-1896
Morris’ ill ease and anticipation speak to me. Thirteen days from Spring, a daffodil stands brashly in the garden claiming it’s place. The cherry blossoms line the sun kiss’d side of the road and bud on the cold. We are near a change in season - and I am jactitating about my soul for it.
Seasons change. It is an axiom of autumn, a certainty of spring, wrested into winter and soaring in the summer - it happens. Yet, my observation of thus was always not so measured. Perhaps it was immaturity but in days past I never sat in a park bench and pondered over the petals of primula as a precursor of spring. It is not until I lived in a hemisphere almost entirely antipode of my home that I understood or cherished the seasons. It is when I lived in a truly temperate oceanic climate askance of a continental cousin that I started to pay attention. When winters became short freezing and staying frozen days, when spring heralded and explosion of growth from tilled soils, when summer baked out into long dry days - reading by sunlight outdoors long past 10pm… autumn came and set afire the colours of the leaves, huge swathes of country side aglow in orange. It is experiencing this and the genuine changes in temperature, wind, rain and sky that I learned to love seasons.
I was worried that when I flew south and back to places I could call home - only a degree or two from humid subtropical that I would lose the opportunity to appreciate my new found love of solstices. I needn’t have fretted. I have, so far, been home through a long baking summer of sun, sand, sea, seafaring, sequester and sordidness; all of the auspices of autumn and now the withering winter. I have noticed these three seasons clearly and distinct delineations of one-another.
Now with the heralding of the hopes of spring by some of the talismans and tells of that season I find myself ready for long days and the rich smell of spring rainfall on hot asphalts. Because I have learnt to accept the seasons and in and along with their metaphor for life, that things change. The bold and aromatic Basil which was so pronounced through summer will blacken and die at the first frosts. The ground will be cold and hard and the adjustment savage. But things will change. Winter will wane and a new day comes. Things, times, purposes, reasons, changes, regrets, losses, life.