Brink-of-summer break

'Umbrella: 7 March 2015' --

‘Umbrella: 7 March 2015’


Afflicted with an acute case of screaming eyeballs syndrome at post-Gutenberg — concentrated, migraine-like pain in eyes recovering from screen-gazing and months of disrupted sleep cycles — we must take a brink-of-summer break.

We can certainly revel in summer, on the right day. With the stretching out of light-filled hours, a silent enchantment begins, and continues until the Solstice. But summer has never been our favourite season. We have always preferred winter and the transitions from and to it, spring and autumn, for reasons never explained as well as by Francine du Plessix Gray, a biographer with an elegant mind:

I have a theory about poets’ distrust of summer. It is in this most rapacious of seasons that the ambivalence facing all writers becomes most poignant: our desire to drench in the world for inspiration, our simultaneous fear that this contact will drown our powers; our contradictory need for participation and withdrawal, for summer’s frenzied elation and winter’s quietude; a choice in which most writers would choose winter, what Thoreau called ‘life near the bone where it is sweetest.’

The dilemma transcends poetry, reaches every one of us: vernal, orgiastic need to be engulfed in the Cosmic Whole (or the Lover); simultaneous desire to preserve, undiminished, the wintry fortress of Self.

— Francine du Plessix Gray in Summer (a collection edited by Alice Gordon and Vincent Virga), 1990

Happy Bank Holiday Monday Memorial Day Weekend



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