13 August 2020

Reflections on seasonality

‘Is there poetry in this strange lust that the sun has for the river bed, that it would unclothe its flowing garments, one drop at a time?’ 

To those who’ve known drought there’s nothing more beautiful as the first monsoonal rains. To those sequestered by the rain there’s magic when the sun breaks through dark clouds. The first buds that herald spring are warm even though the cold of winter holds. The first snowfall is greeted with much delight and  sullenness of long nights and short, dismal days that must follow duly shoved aside.

The world and life are made of seasons and too much of one makes us long for the next, only for its length and sameness to give birth to weariness and longing for season-end.

And so the world is made of the sated and unsatisfied. More of the latter kind, it seems. Harsh conditions don’t make for happy engagement. There’s a rough, uncut beauty in a dry river bed and a sun that sets fire to a tree line recites the poetry of splendid battles fought by handsome young gods, but such descriptions are unlikely to move someone whose fields are impatient for the rain. It’s beautiful to watch the rain in all its many tempers but perhaps a butterfly would rue the obdurate and relentless skies. Butterflies make do. We could, too.  

Seasonality is not the preserve of nature. Life has its phases. The down days sometimes seem endless and the ups are random. Breaks in cloud cover that let in sunlight before quickly closing up can torment. There are also welcoming rain clouds that arrive, tarry and pass on leaving dry riverbeds thirsty as ever.  The longed-for arrives, thrills and loses magic because it becomes furniture-like in familiarity. Then again, there’s no limit on dreams and there is always another around the corner. Magic-in-waiting.  

Elections are seasonal. Holidays are sporadic. The first flush of love passes. Anticipated with relish, experienced with discomfort and remembered with nostalgia, as they say.  Victories are never forever affairs. Defeat is not a hotel you can never leave.

Proximity and desire enhance the true value of joy. Immediacy and apprehensive make despondency deeper. Fixation has something to do with emotion and when that happens, reason takes a break. Then seasons longed for seem briefer and the dreaded appears to have arrived without any intention to leave.

A little bit of reflection can give perspective on size and longevity. Take a step back and all seasons, even the dark and dry, become colored and brushed with dew. The unnoticed surface. It may be cloudy but there’s light enough to infuse depth to what’s seen, to make distinct that which seems undistinguished. When there is longing for thunderclap, the roar of high winds and the drumming of hard rain, hearing gets impaired. Birdsong goes unheard and the determined work on nuts and bolts that is the industry of survival and is the foundation of prosperity  is assumed to be non-existent.

Crops are bested by drought, floods and wild elephants robbed of habitat but almost always there's something on the hearth. Wild leaves boiled, thickened with coconut milk, seasoned with salt, pepper and goraka keep life alive. Grief passes. Life goes on. One thrill fades only for another to appear on horizon, tease enough to delight and come close enough for embrace.

There are no seasons but for what we make of what we have. Abrupt or endless, monotonous or vivid, they are not always completely beyond our control.

So, to the endless delights of seasons and seasonality and the imagination and resolve that produce them, let’s raise a cheer made of patience, equanimity and wisdom that may come suddenly or grow upon us.  

Other articles in the series 'In Passing...':  [published in the 'Daily News']   
Eyes that watch the world and cannot be forgotten 
 Let's start with the credits, shall we? 
The 'We' that 'I' forgot 
'Duwapang Askey,' screamed a legend, almost 40 years ago
Dances with daughters
Reflections on shameless writing
Is the old house still standing?
 Magic doesn't make its way into the classifieds

Small is beautiful and is a consolation  
Distance is a product of the will
Akalanka Athukorala, at 13+ already a hurricane hunter
Did the mountain move, and if so why?
Ever been out of Colombo?
Anya Raux educated me about Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)
Wicky's Story You can always go to GOAT Mountain
Let's learn the art of embracing damage
Kandy Lake is lined with poetry
There's never a 'right moment' for love
A love note to an unknown address in Los Angeles
A dusk song for Rasika Jayakody
How about creating some history?
How far away are the faraway places?
There ARE good people!
Re-placing people in the story of schooldays  
When we stop, we can begin to learn
Routine and pattern can checkmate poetry

Janani Amanda Umandi threw a b'day party for her father 
Sriyani and her serendipity shop
Forget constellations and the names of oceans
Where's your 'One, Galle Face'?
Maps as wrapping paper, roads as ribbons
Yasaratne, the gentle giant of Divulgane  
Katharagama and Athara Maga
Victories are made by assists
Lost and found between weaver and weave
The Dhammapada and word-intricacies
S.A. Dissanayake taught children to walk in the clouds
White is a color we forget too often  
The most beautiful road is yet to meet a cartographer



Malinda Words said...

well, looks like you are a coward of the highest order. too scared of putting your name to what you write? or are you ashamed of your name? ;)