Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

By Norman E. Rosenthal | Go to book overview

SEVENTEEN

Words for All Seasons

For centuries, the seasons have inspired poets and songwriters, who have left us a glorious legacy describing the changes that occur, both in the world around us and in ourselves as, year after year, the tilted earth rotates around the sun. What is it that has so inspired writers over the ages? I believe it is, first, the intense feelings with which the changing seasons imbue us; second, the capacity of seasonal images to evoke memories in us; and third, the appeal of the cycle of the seasons as a metaphor for a person's life.

The seasonal changes in energy, feelings, and drives that we now recognize to be a common part of the human experience are accompanied by prominent changes in the world around us: varied colors, fragrances, temperatures, and sounds. By reminding us of these specific sensations, the poet can evoke in us the feelings that often accompany them. Beyond the re-creation of these feelings, and the nostalgia that comes with them, the seasons remind us of cyclical time, loss and recovery, birth, death, and renewal.

In poetry, spring has usually been portrayed as representing reawakening, rebirth, sexuality, and joy, and for some this is true. Yet others find spring to be a difficult and painful season. Summer is seen as a time of happiness and generativity. Autumn engenders mixed feelings: Nature is intensely beautiful and summer's harvest abounds, but

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