Monday, April 13, 2009

Twelve Moons of the Year. Hal Borland.

Ed. by Barbara Dodge Borland. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1979.

Why read it? Each Sunday, Hal Borland published an essay in the New York Times on the seasons in Connecticut, where he lived. These essays are beautifully written, short gems, with not a word wasted. He describes the spirit of the seasons in New England, using all of the senses. They are “sheer celebrations of life.”

Sample quotes:

January can be cold, raw, bitter, icy, edged with a wind that chills the marrow and congeals the blood.” p. 4. ………. February. “But in upper New England there is a wry twist to the legend of the groundhog…hope for sunshine so the groundhog can see its shadow…means there will be only six more weeks of winter.” p. 35. ………. “March has a dubious reputation at best…the hint of madness in the very mention of the March hare…the threat of dark deeds on the ides of March…lamb-and-lion belief…March mud…March floods…the winds of March…the March blizzard of ’88.” p. 62.

April: “…uncounted millions of taut and waiting buds.” p. 94. ………. “May is apple blossoms and lilacs, and if any other month can surpass that combination we have yet to learn its name.” p. 120. ………. June: “The world is new and young in the June dawn, a fresh and sweet and almost innocent.” p. 150.

July. “By the first week in July the day lilies at the roadside and the brown-eyed Susans in the old pastures splash the countryside with Van Gogh orange.” p. 183. ………. “August comes with hot days, warm nights, a brassy sun, and something in the air, perhaps the season itself, that begins to rust the high-hung leaves of the elms.” p. 210. ………. “September comes, and with it a sense of autumn. Summer thins away.” p. 240.

October is the glory and the magnificence of the year’s late afternoon.” p. 271. ………. November: “The owls are the voices of November nights…a chilly sound, a dark and frosty sound that hints of ice and snow…a fireside sound, one that goes with wood smoke and sheltered evenings.” p. 301. ………. “December sunrise: the night’s cold seems to intensify as daylight comes.” p. 340.

Comment: For every day, an essay. For every day, a sense of the season. This book is out of print. If ever it is republished, buy it. It will remind you of the beauty of the world around you and your own feelings about the changing seasons. RayS.

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