John Graves on the gift of seasons

Newgrange, Winter Solstice 2003 by Alan BetsonImage credit: knowth.com

Newgrange, Winter Solstice 2003 by Alan Betson
Image credit: knowth.com

Change. Autumn. Maybe – certainly – there was melancholy in it, but it was a good melancholy. I’ve never been partial to the places where the four seasons are one. If the sun shines all year at La Jolla, and the water stays warm enough for swimming over rocks that wave moss like green long hair, that is pleasant, but not much else. Sunshine and warm water seem to me to have full meaning only when they come after winter’s bite; green is not so green if it doesn’t follow the months of brown and gray. And the scheduled inevitable death of green carries its own exhilaration; in that change is the promise of all the rebirths to come, and the deaths, too. In it is the only real unchangingness, solidity, and in the alteration of bite and caress, of fat and lean, of song and silence, is the reward and punishment that life has always been, and the punishment itself becomes good, maybe because it promises reward, maybe because after much honey the puckering acid of acorns tastes right. Without the year’s changes, for me, there is little morality.
John Graves in Goodbye to a River, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1960), p. 119

John Graves Posted on behalf of John Graves on Sunday, December 20th, 2009 under Quotations.

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