Sunday, May 30, 2010

First Vivaldi, Now McDermott: The Four Seasons


Of the four seasons, two are associated with longing and two with
nostalgia.  Spring is the height of cruelty, because it fills us with
longing for that which can never be:   the perfect romantic love,
in which consummation does not diminish the intensity of desire.

Fall is the other time of longing,
the time of longing for that yet to be, our own death.

Winter and summer are, of course, the times of nostalgia.
The holidays in early Winter console us for the deep loss
of not having lived in Victorian England, and so they
offer us the gift of nostalgia for an era in which we never lived.

Summer is the only season to provoke an intense emotional response
from our own personal lived experience.  Summer fills us with an
ardent nostalgia for the irrevocably lost mix of longing and suffering
which makes adolescence so aimless, befuddling and precious.

That Summer Feeling, Jonathan Richman

An interesting note on this summer nostalgia thing:
it begins while we're still teenagers, because we
already know it's passing;  and we're afraid we'll never
feel anything as strongly again. 

I remember, once when my brother Philip was still alive,
passing two privileged Lincoln Park teenage boys on the corner
of Fullerton and Orchard, right there by The Bourgeois Pig.
It was a clear winter evening, dark and cold but comfortable.
The houses around us were by and large lit up.  The older boy
was telling his brother in a confiding tone, sharing with him the
hard truths of life, "The people in these houses, they don't feel
anything anymore."

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