Sunday, August 19, 2018

Down the Long Hill

August 18th and 19th

Down the Long Hill

"Sunrise comes later, now, and dusk creeps over the hills earlier in the evening. Reckoned from late June, when the Solstice marked the year's longest day, we have already lost an hour and a half of sunlight. Another month and the Autumn Equinox will be here and daylight will equal darkness, briefly. The year has turned, noticeably; and Summer is walking down the long hill toward Autumn and the Winter beyond.
On a scorching August day such a change seems to run counter to the season as we now know it. Now, we feel, as the hot humidity lies heavy upon us, is the Summer's peak. If the season is already moving downhill, why do the temperatures remain here on the summit? The reason is that it takes the Earth a time to warm up, and that it does not cool off in a moment. Any housewife knows that if she is going to cook a roast or bake a pie she must give her oven time to get hot; and that even though the oven is turned off before the cooking is done it will retain the heat long enough to crust the roast or scorch the pie. So with the Earth. It took from June to August for it to warm up, and it will take till late September for it to cool off again.
But the trees show the true season, and so do the grass in the meadow and the tall weeds at the roadside. Early apples begin to ripen. Daisies fade and goldenrod shows impatient yellow. New growth is slow; seed pods fatten; the soft growth of May hardens toward maturity. Dog days are virtually over. Another Summer seeps away as dusk settles in the valleys a few minutes earlier one day after another."

Hal Borland
"Sundial of the Seasons"
August 1947

19 comments:

  1. "The trees show the true season", I like that.

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    1. I just remarked to Gregg the other day that the green of the dogwood leaves has turned a golden-green color, as opposed to the bright "new" green of spring and early summer.

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  2. That is beautiful and exactly how it is if one but takes the time to notice.

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    1. We've been noticing the shorter days for a few weeks now.

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  3. This is kind of pretty. Here in blazing California, we have two seasons. The trees are nekkid and putting on clothing, and the trees are clothed and getting nekkid.

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    1. I love the way Hal Borland wrote about nature and the changing seasons, even though he lived in the northeast which is quite different than my South Carolina home.

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  4. Hang on a minute! What's this about housewives and roasts and pies? And how come it's "her oven"? Mr Borland may have been in tune with Nature and the character of the passing seasons but he was apparently sexist too.

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    1. Not sexist--a product of his time. He wrote this essay in 1947!

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    2. I was aware that the essay was written in 1947. Even then there were men who did not fit the domestic stereotype.

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  5. I find this time of year to be so beautifully melancholy. I know that it is an oxymoron but it’s true.

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  6. People are on the beach here until 10 at night. Makes the shorter days difficult to notice!

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  7. The last line says it all.
    Alphie

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  9. There are rosehips on the hedgerows, and the orange lampion "flowers" have appeared in gardens already weeks ago - earlier than usual because of the very hot, very dry summer we've been having. These are always the first messengers of autumn for me. And yes, sunrise is noticeably later than a few weeks ago, and sunset earlier. But the starry skies at night are wonderful, and I have already seen shooting starts twice this season!

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  10. This is a lovely post, Jennifer. This has been a different and not so nice summer for us in the Middle Atlantic and NE states, but we are now, at the end, looking forward to sunny, cooler days. We have been promised that for this week and I am hoping they are correct. Mildew covers our flowers and leaves.

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  11. I LOVE Hal Borland. Every year I read all his books that are available in my library system. I also do this with my other favorite author Gladys Taber. Reading their books makes me realize we are not so different from the past.

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