Monday, March 29, 2010

"On Summer" by Haruki Murakami

I love summer. In summer afternoons with the sun blazing down, wearing a pair of shorts and drinking a beer while listening to rock and roll, I think to myself how lucky I am.

The end of summer, after those three months or so, is truly precious. If it were possible, I would want it to go on for half a year.

Recently I read a sci-fi novel called Planet of Exile by Ursula K. Le Guin. It's a story about a planet really far away, where it takes sixty years to go through one year on earth. In other words, spring is 15 years long, summer is 15 years long, autumn is 15 years long, and winter is 15 years long. That's awesome.

Therefore, on this planet there's a saying that goes, "It's a blessing to be able to see spring twice." In other words, it's lucky to have such a long life.

However, with such a life, living through winter twice would be horrible, because the winters on this planet are dark and terribly severe.

If I were living on that planet, I think having summer be first would be nice. I'd spend my childhood running around under the hot sun, spend puberty and young adulthood gracefully in autumn, spend my prime and middle age in the harsh coldness, become an old man when the spring comes.

I can't say if I'd be able to live long enough to reach summer one more time. But I think it would be nice if I could die with the feeling, "Oh, I can hear the Beach Boys playing somewhere..."

There's an old Sinatra ballad called "September Song."

It goes something like: "It's a long time from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September. When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame, one hasn't got time for the waiting game. The days dwindle down to a precious few."

When l listen to it like that... I mean it's a really great song, but... It makes me depressed. I guess I just want to spend my days thinking that my time to die will be the summer.

[From the essay collection 村上朝日堂, 1987, Shinchosha.]

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