‘Tis the Seasons

The holiday season is over, and we are back at work (well, everybody but me, but that is another story).

It is an oddly protracted business, celebrating the end of the year, the solstice, the Birth of Christ, and it comes in no particular order: in Britain, of course, we celebrate Christmas on 25th and New Year’s Eve on 1st, and mostly rest or shop in between; in orthodox cultures Christmas is celebrated on the epiphany, after New Year; in Japan they go to KFC on 25th; and in China we have to wait until some time in February before everything really gets going.

We are deeply afraid of winter, I suppose, and try to make its deadening present acceptable. Things start over, we can resolve, take stock, get cosmically drunk and rise unsteadily from the dead on 1st January. And so on. And that is in spite of the fact that spring has already arrived in Cambridge. Spring flowers are in bloom, and yesterday I saw a bumble bee. Winter is winter, in our souls if not in our weather.

No doubt the language schools of the world will be boosted by the New Year’s Resolution Effect. People like to lay out courses of study in January, in their heads. No doubt also we will be inundated with eager students of the English tongue, ready to make good, finally, on their potential. We have turned our collective faces, finally, towards the sun, and are good for a while yet.