Cutting across campus yesterday with a colleague we noticed that many of the trees were just starting to turn, starting to cut back on the production of chlorophyll. No! Summer just got here - it's only early August, for Pete's sake!
The squirrels are spreading the rumor: no more monkey business.We live in a region where all four seasons are just barely distinct from one another and where the boundaries between them are gradual zones. It plays out like 8 small seasons rather than 4: Summer, not-summer, fall, not-fall, winter, not-winter, spring, not-spring, summer, repeat...
The Dow Jones hops up, then down, then back up, trying for attention,
up against dog days.
The Capitol dome rattles like a witch doctor's gourd. “More Republicans,”
warn the talking drums.
The networks labor underground to stockpile T, A, and blood capsules
for Sweeps Week, when all hell won’t be enough to save some.
Pedestrians slip into light coats of pollen and mold spores.
- from Summer's Almost Gone, by William Trowbridge
I remember being in Khabarovsk, in the Russian Far East, in late September. The weather had been summer-hot for the first two weeks we were there, in the 90's with high humidity. Then one morning it simply wasn't any more. A cold wind materialized overnight and suddenly you needed a coat to go outside, and so it stayed for the remainder of our trip. The hot water service (centrally supplied and piped in huge tunnel-sized insulated over-ground pipes (permafrost only a few feet down) turned on and suddenly you could heat your apartment and get all the hot orange-brown water you wanted from your faucets. The boundary between one season and the next was a clear demarcation. They have pure seasons in the Russian Far East. We have a cycle of vague transitions.
After ubiquitous seasons and a search
For anything to give them boundaries,
I wander in the sand avoiding rocks and
Glass, complaining of the seasons how
They cramp even my mirror, clouding a face
Which the broadest sort of caution will not clear
- from, After Seasons, by Julia Maria Morrison
Since yesterday I've been listening to a "station" on Google Play Music, this one labeled, "Uplifting Indie Motivation." I like dipping my toes into a stream of musicians and music I may not already be familiar with; I've found a lot of the musicians I like that way. The music featured on this "station" is energetic and enjoyable. The lyrics - well, that's a different story (or lack thereof). I sure don't come across any poets in the set of tunes I hear this morning. Mostly fragments of sentences that don't go anywhere but which sound vaguely lost and disillusioned with one song about someone on the run from the law for a hanging crime. So, really good high-energy music and downer-to-useless lyric content.
That same trip to the Russian Far East I picked up a couple of CDs of the current Russian pop music. It was good stuff (even the pop music there favors minor keys), though I understood very little of the words. Not understanding the lyrics didn't detract from being able to enjoy the music, though.
So I think I'll keep this station on and just pretend I don't understand English as I enjoy our very gentle glide-path away from summer into not-as-much-summer.
Today's full playlist:
- Geronimo, Sheppard
- Easy, Real Estate
- Unbelievers, Vampire Weekend
- Time to Run, Lord Huron
- Up Up Up, Givers