In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.
On this, the first day of spring, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons jumps into my head. It’s by far one of my favorite pieces of classical music and I’ve watched it performed a few times. Without a doubt, the most memorable experience was seeing it performed in Prague. I was tired from travel and walking and packing so much into each day that by the evening I couldn’t have escaped the walking dead. But we bought tickets for a performance at Prague Castle in St. George’s Basilica, a narrow building constructed of cold stone. The Prague Castle description: “The interior of the basilica is Romanesque, austere and monumental. The tombs of members of the ruling Premyslid dynasty are situated in the main nave. One of them belongs to prince Vratislav, father of St. Wenceslas.”
It was over the crypt the performers sat, framed by the crumbling stones and faded paintings where they launched into The Four Seasons. The hard cold benches and matching walls were an unlikely setting for music which embodies the senses of the outdoors. As the music described summer, “beneath the blazing sun’s relentless heat, men and flocks are sweltering, pines are scorched”, we sat cold and tired, but yet transported to another season.
Vivaldi wrote sonnets for The Four Seasons and below is the sonnet for Spring.
Springtime is upon us.
The birds celebrate her return with festive song,
and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes.
Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven,
Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.
On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.
Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes, nymphs and shepherds lightly dance beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.