Khan at The Black House

Superlative Solstice!

From our garden here at The Black House—where our Chow Khan is enjoying the verdant grass—we offer Solstice greetings to all in harmony with the Earth’s seasonal changes! In the Northern Hemisphere, we embrace the longest day of the year as sultry Summer begins. Those in the Southern Hemisphere mark the longest night as Winter initiates its gelid dominion.

As many around the globe are emerging from pandemic strictures, connecting with the fecundity of our glorious home world is a means towards replenishing one’s vitality. As Nature flourishes, we joyfully note that we are also part of it, and that we, too, have the potential for growth and fulfillment.

Antonio Vivaldi‘s four violin concerti published in 1725, The Four Seasons, depict his impressions of the seasons, and these were pioneering efforts at what would later be called “program music”—instrumental music that strives to depict extra-musical imagery. There were sonnets published with the scores, and it is likely the composer wrote them himself. An attentive listener can hear how the music follows the scenes depicted in the poetry with delightful detail. Here is an English translation of the sonnet for “Summer”:

Allegro non molto
Under a hard season, fired up by the sun
Languishes man, languishes the flock and burns the pine
We hear the cuckoo’s voice;
then sweet songs of the turtledove and finch are heard.
Soft breezes stir the air, but threatening
the North Wind sweeps them suddenly aside.
The shepherd trembles,
fearing violent storms and his fate.

Adagio e piano – Presto e forte
The fear of lightning and fierce thunder
Robs his tired limbs of rest
As gnats and flies buzz furiously around.

Alas, his fears were justified
The Heavens thunder and roar and with hail
Cut the head off the wheat and damages the grain

This excellent performance will surely transport you to that eternal Summer which Vivaldi captured close to three centuries ago.

Here’s to a splendid new season of awareness, health, and vigorous progress towards positive societal metamorphosis!

—Magus Peter H. Gilmore