30 January 2018

We Are Nearer to Spring Than We Were in September

La Belle Jardiniere--Janvier by Eugène Grasset, 1896
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing,
And sweet to remember.

'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

- Oliver Herford
This January has been a month of confusing weather. The new year came in with some of the coldest days on record for my area, but towards the middle of the month we had a January thaw that brought almost spring-like sunshine and temperatures (well, spring-like for here, as our springs are fairly chilly). Now, as the month goes out, the skies have been grey and we've settled into an average winter middle ground of cold but not bitter temperatures.

During the first part of the month I had extended Christmas celebrations to keep me feeling cheerful, and my upbeat mood continued with the mild weather that followed. But as the gloomy days have come back, my mood has dropped a bit, and I have to keep reminding myself of the poem above--even though it's currently snowing, we're even closer to spring now at the end of January than we were in December.

I've also had a few pieces of music playing through my mind that remind me that the seasons always cycle, and warmth and sunlight will return in due course. I think that more traditional forms tend to capture the cyclic nature of the seasons better than modern, popular music, perhaps because the cycle of the seasons was so important in traditional ways of life. So here are three musical compositions that I've found comfort in, and perhaps someone else battling the winter blues will find comfort in them, too:

"Look to the Day", composed by John Rutter, performed by The Cambridge Singers

"The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring, Tra-la", 
from The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan

"Summer is icumen in", Medieval English, performed by the Oxford Girls' Choir

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