There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons —
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes —
— Emily Dickinson
The signs of winter are multiplying around us, November melancholy is weighty, like hymns played on an organ, people with SAD are bracing themselves, the Berkshire snowbirds are long since on the wing (as it were), and I for one am more than ready for the warmth and good cheer of Thanksgiving.
Norman Rockwell had it right!
I don’t know… I like the low-lying November light, the bite of cold on my cheek, the obvious onset of winter. I like the buffs and browns brightened by the unexpected pink of spindleberries or the flagrant orange of bittersweet. It’s early autumn that makes me sad – the expectation of bleakness, the slow dying of leaf and sunlight, the lingering warmth that makes me yearn for one more day of summer.
Interesting about differing rhythms: for me early autumn is the quickening pace, back to school, the start of a new year, farewell to languid days of summer (never my favorite season). It’s late autumn where the bleakness and slow dying begin to take over —
What if we both lived in Florida? Or Hawaii? We wouldn’t have these rhythms at all — or perhaps they have their own subtle ones.
I’ve been to both Hawaii (which seemed a bit of heaven on earth even without seasons though I was there only a few weeks and didn’t have a chance to get tired of the lovely, moist warmth), and Florida, where the excessive heat just made me tired and irritable. I’ll stick with the seasons with all their attendant beauty and small annoyances 🙂
Yes. Emily said so many things. She is a dean in the Academy of the Immortals. One can find pithy statements in her poems about almost any subject. Could her flower have flourished in Hawaii? I don’t know. I lived there for almost 20 years — such balmy beauty is a great distraction —
I hate to always be a curmudgeon — but I think SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a great oversimplification. It was defined by the PIGs (pharmaceutical company giants) to sell drugs like Prozac. Just like they invented PMS — SAD is much more complex than just less light. As Emily tells us “Heavenly hurt it gives us — None can see the Scar.” Heavenly hurt – is not all that bad — it also elevates us, enriches us — more than just dysthymia. Some of Beethoven’s music also give us “heavenly hurt.” Basta.
I doubt that a curmudgeon would have featured as compassionately as you do in today’s Berkshire Eagle story about documentation of tattoos — sorry to blow the image!
As far as “heavenly hurt” — that’s a lovely phrase to refer to the ache of indefinable sorrow that accompanies intense appreciation of great beauty, in art and music and nature —
I once had a discussion with a friend about why it should hurt so much, when it was so beautiful — he replied, Because our natural response to great beauty is to want to possess it, and we can’t.