Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

  • Mood:

Winter sunlight on a summer garden

I looked out the front window the other day, and saw winter.

It's still mid-August. Daytime temps are in the 90s. But the front lawn reminded me of winter. It was the sunlight.

Winter sunlight is different from summer sunlight. In summer, the sun's light is intensely bright, and high overhead most of the day. Because of its angle, shadows are short, and this tends to flatten out objects as we view them. Our perception of three-dimensional form is lessened. In winter, the sun is lower. Shadows are long, even at midday. Colors aren't washed out, as they are at midday in summer. Things seem more three-dimensional, more solid.

That was what I saw looking out my window. We are now almost two months past the solstice. Although the days have not yet begun to shorten rapidly, the sun is lower in the sky at mid-morning, and my yard and garden have begun to take on the fuller, more rounded forms of winter. Summer is haunted by the ghost of winter.

It also reminded me of this:

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold;
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.

—Louis MacNeice
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.