Five Songs to Welcome Spring*

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(*Even though we are supposed to get snow tomorrow!)

The incomparable John Fahey with the appropriately titled “When The Springtime Comes Again”:

Janácek’s String Quartet “Intimate Letters”, 3rd Movement:

John Coltrane: “Equinox”:

Bob Marley, “Natural Mystic”:

Jethro Tull: “March, the Mad Scientist”:

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Five Songs to Welcome Spring

The incomparable John Fahey with the appropriately titled “When The Springtime Comes Again”:

Janácek’s String Quartet “Intimate Letters”, 3rd Movement:

John Coltrane: “Equinox”:

Bob Marley, “Natural Mystic”:

Jethro Tull: “March, the Mad Scientist”:

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Vaclav Havel, R.I.P.

This representative quote has been reprinted many times elsewhere, with good reason, so I have no qualms utilizing it here:

Hope in this deep and powerful sense is not the same as joy when things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather an ability to work for something to succeed. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It’s not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. It is this hope, above all, that gives us strength to live and to continually try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now. In the face of this absurdity, life is too precious a thing to permit its devaluation by living pointlessly, emptily, without meaning, without love, and, finally, without hope.

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Janacek + Allergies = Spring

It’s on.

It’s official. Spring is here.

Trees are having unprotected sex all around me, and buds are exploding everywhere, nowhere to go but out into the world. And if less salubrious souls (like myself, for instance) have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous allergy reactions, it seems a fair price to pay for all this useful beauty. For a few weeks, we can play wingmen while Nature does it’s thing. The sweet smell of manure, I mean mulch, holds sway. The hills are alive! The deepening greens of the tentative grass signify an immutable reincarnation: look at it, eager to stretch out and show the world what it’s been thinking all winter, keeping it on the down low during the cold stretch, waiting its turn to be reborn. 

Even the animals are getting in on the act: squirrels are everywhere, paired off in couples, rolling around with an abandon that seems at once reckless and purposeful. Of course, I cannot honestly ascertain if these creatures are fucking or fighting (or both, or neither). I wonder: should I be disappointed with myself and my relative ignorance in these matters? Then I think: am I supposed to know? Haven’t humans made sufficient advances over the years so that I don’t have to trouble myself actually understanding this type of shit? Certainly, I could stand to be more acquainted with the earth, and the ecology, and the types of slow, studious observations that enable more scientific minds to determine the difference between two squirrels fussin’ and two squirrels fornicating. But then, I could also be more acquainted with cold, and hunger, and polio, and tuberculosis, and child slavery and the myriad anti-blisses our ancestors’ ingenuity afforded me the luxury to remain ignorant of.

All of which is to say, it’s on; it’s Spring. 

Even though the warming days still cool off considerably once the sun sets and we prepare for a great deal of rain (April showers and all that), Spring once again can sense its own strength. To which I say, give me some Leos Janacek, that great Czech composer. To me, his second string quartet (“Intimate Letters”) is inextricable from the month of April. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that I first got exposed to this music in the early days of springtime, back in the days when Spring still meant the eventual end of another semester. And, I think, perhaps Proust and Pavlov were both correct about the ways we associate memories and lost time.

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