No one describes the changing seasons quite like Shirley Jackson (1916 - 1965), first in Life Among the Savages (1953) and again in Raising Demons (1957), her bittersweet tributes to family life with four growing children. All the rambunctious joy is there but also an undercurrent of betrayal and sadness, especially for the reader who knows beforehand that Jackson died at age 48, barely a decade after penning these topsy - turvy homegrown reminiscences. Her youngest child (born 1951) was only 14 years old at the time of her death, approximately the age of her older son Laurence [aka Laurie, born 1943] around the time that she attends his baseball game at the local field, near their rambling -- not to say ramshackle! -- Victorian house:
"The summer was one of the hottest we had ever had, and I got sunburned sitting on the hill over third base. . . . I sat in the shade and figured out that there were only seventeen more days before school started, Sally and Jannie were going to need new winter coats; a year from now I would be getting Barry ready for kindergarten. The first winter we were in our new house, when Laurie used to go sledding on this hill, he could stand just about where I was sitting now, and see our back porch, and I used to signal him that it was time to come home by hanging a dish towel over the porch rail; I could not see the back porch now because the trees were still thick. In another few weeks, I thought, the leaves would be coming down again. School, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the long spring days, and then another summer. I could hear cheering from the ball field. The years go by so quickly, I thought, rising; he used to be so small.
"The last few days of summer go faster, though, than any other time of year. . ." (215 - 16, Raising Demons)
See recent biographies of Jackson
by Ruth Franklin & Zoe Heller
First the flowers . . .
. . . then the squash . . .
. . . then the pumpkins!
Vernal Equinox Throwback
Stained Glass Representation of the Electromagnetic Spectrum
at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
KEY (left to right):
Green: Radio waves; Yellow teardrops: Meteors;
Orange teardrops: Aurora;
Red: Infrared light; Rainbow colors: Visible light; Violet: Ultraviolet light;
Dark violet triangles: X-rays; Light violet triangles: Gamma rays;
Pink: Cosmic rays.
Happy Vernal Equinox!
Some haiku for the
Day and Night of Equal Light:
Trying but failing
to be the voice of reason.
The spirit prevails.
Here's to equanimity
and all shall be well!