52 ODES TO JOY: FOUR, JOYFUL SEASONS

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(Photo from Yummly.com)

                                                              ODE TO FOUR, JOYFUL SEASONS

                                                         Spring is joyful, then there is also this,

                                                         Summer is such sunny bliss.

                                                         Autumn is a sweet molasses kiss, and

                                                         Winter is time to joyfully reminisce.

THE FOUR SEASONS: spring, summer, fall and winter were mostly named for “planting times.” The word “seasons” comes from the French for “seed sowing.” Spring was known as “Lent” for hundreds of years but evolved in the 14th century to describe “flowers springing up.”

Summer comes from the Old English “sumor” which means “togetherness” and it is the warmer months, even in contemporary times, when we most enjoy UNITING together under the sun we share. Fall was named for “falling leaves.” Winter derives from the German “wentruz” meaning “white and wet.”

This year, I’m celebrating 280 seasons of life. What number of seasons have you weathered? Do the math, even if you need a calculator. Multiply, YOUR AGE X 4=________seasons. You and I can choose to be: once, twice, three times, four times grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy all our seasons.

FOUR, JOYFUL SEASONS can be yours at any age if you choose to view each of them positively with “The S.U.N.S. (Smile-Making, Uniting, Neighboring, Spellbinding) Joyful Aging Lifestyle Plan”

SMILE-MAKING (Positive Thinking and Positive Doing)—Each season offers unique and wonderful things to enjoy: the blossoming of springtime, the radiant gilding of summer, the flamboyant palette of colors of fall foliage, the cozy snuggling of wintertime. As you think through the special joys of each season, here are some prompts to make your positive-thinking become positive-doing.

Stargazing: That big, bright star you see on a summer evening is probably the planet Venus. How about the wintertime stars the magi studied in Ancient Bible times?

Birding—One season, you can enjoy the birdsong and mating rituals, and another, the migration.

Walking/Hiking—These FREE, fun activities have no “off season.” Some walks may require you to layer extra clothing and others to strip away, but good health and adventure await us all through the year.

Road-Tripping—Paraphrasing the classic rock band, Steppenwolf, “Get your motor runnin’. Head out on the highway. We were born to enjoy the wild.” Even with soaring gasoline prices, most of us can enjoy a quick getaway and with a bit of planning and budgeting a longer sojourn.

Gardening—Every month at our Master Gardener meetings, those of us who enjoy digging in the dirt discuss the seasonal pleasures of our gardens. Even if working your own garden is not your cuppa, you can enjoy strolling through public gardens and delighting in the changes that come with each season. When plants are snuggling in during the winter, there are some resilient, SMILE-MAKING blooms like pansies and an appreciation for the sculptural beauty of branches.

Reading—Remember as a child when school was out, you had a “Summer Reading List?” How about creating your own reading list for each season? Some “beach reads” simply beg to be enjoyed under summer sun and other books (for me more challenging works) are great for hot cider and blanket-burrowing in the cooler months.

Sports-Watching—I have friends who experience a bit of funk in the months when football isn’t in play. How about expanding your fanatic, fantastic, fan enthusiasm to include watching swim meets and cheering on sandlot volleyball? Could be worth the gamble.

UNITING (Deeply Connecting) is another essential for joyful aging. As you ponder the things you positively appreciate in each season, also think of how to enjoy some aspects of those things with those to whom you have your most meaningful connections.

NEIGHBORING (Others-Centeredness)—Each season has opportunities for us to go beyond our own self-focused needs and support others. How might you be assisting in the next “winter coat drive?” Back-to-school supplies are additional expenses some families may need help in affording. “Senior Citizens Day” at your county fair would be a good time to offer to guide a wheelchair or volunteer as an escort.

SPELLBINDING (Absorbed in Meaningful Achievements) can readily happen throughout your year. You can get caught up in raking leaves or counting birds for hours as you enjoy the fresh air and some exercise. Winter is a wonderful time for making crafts, learning new recipes and finishing that book you abandoned reading last summer.

FOUR, JOYFUL SEASONS are possible for the vast majority of us but according to Dr. Joel L. Young, a mental health expert quoted in “Psychology Today” magazine (October, 2017), “Every year, about 5% of Americans experience a condition called ‘seasonal affective disorder’ (SAD)…a seasonal depression.”

Researchers believe seasonal affective disorder is caused by changes in levels of sunlight. The good news is this somewhat uncommon malady can be treated by increasing outdoor activity, possibly adding indoor light box therapy and in extreme cases may require anti-depressant medications.

ODES TO FOUR, JOYFUL SEASONS from others:

“The seasons are what a symphony ought to be: four perfect movements in harmony with each other.”—Arthur Rubenstein

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”—George Santayana

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”—Stanley Horowitz

FOUR, JOYFUL SEASONS are waiting for each of us to explore and enhance our enjoyment. A great soundtrack as you plan for your personally designed, seasonal explorations is by Antonio Vivaldi and aptly named, “The Four Seasons” (circa 1717).

One of the most popular works in symphonic music, “The Four Seasons” is a group of four violin concertos which each give expression to a season of the year. They were a revolution in musical conception: in them, Vivaldi represents singing birds, flowing creeks, buzzing flies, seasonal storms, harvesting, hunting parties, frozen landscapes and warm winter fires. There are many things to delight you season after season.

JOY-GIVERS CELEBRATING A BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK

April 2—Marvin Gaye

April 3—Eddie Murphy

April 4—Muddy Waters

April 5—Bette Davis

April 6—Merle Haggard

April 7—Francis Ford Coppola

April 8—Betty Ford

FOUR, JOYFUL SEASONS OF LAFFS

“The love of my life just left me. She says how we spent our time revolved too much around football. It’s quite upsetting considering we’ve been together for seven seasons.”

“Who changes the season when summer ends? No one, it happens Autumnatically.”

“I occasionally flip the television channels to that weather show but I don’t want to watch all four seasons of it.”

“What is a personal injury lawyer’s favorite season’s greeting? Happy Fall!”

                              FLORIDA PASSION FRUIT—SUMMERTIME SALAD DRESSING

                                                (Source: thespruceeeats.com)

Each week, Joy & Gerontology shares a recipe saluting a healthy food produced in America. (This week, we offer both a recipe for summer and another for winter using Florida-grown passion fruit.) The delicious and nutritious collection is called “The S.U.N.S. USA Longevity Cookbook” and highlights vitamin B-3 (niacin) which many research gerontologists believe hold the promise for a long, healthy, joyful life.

INGREDIENTS

2 passion fruits (or ¼ cup passion fruit puree)

½ cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon lime juice

1 Tablespoon honey

¼ teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS

Step 1) Gather the ingredients

Step 2) Cut the passion fruits in half. Scrape the pulp and seeds into a small saucepan.

Step 3) Heat fruit pulp over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Heat the pulp almost to boiling, then remove it from the heat.

Step 4) Strain the pulp through a sieve or colander.

Step 5) Discard the seeds and let the juice cool.

Step 6) Put the passion fruit, olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, honey and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth.

Step 7) Store the salad dressing in the refrigerator for up to one week. Stir or shake before using.

                              FLORIDA PASSION FRUIT—WINTERTIME CRUMBLE

                                                  (Source: yummly.com)

INGREDIENTS

6 passion fruits

4 peaches

1 ½ Tablespoons slivered almonds

2/3 cup flour

70 grams butter (cut into 1 cm. pieces)

3 ½ Tablespoons brown sugar

Farofa

DIRECTIONS

Step 1) Preheat oven to 400 F. In a bowl, mix the flour and butter with your hands until thick and crumbly. Add sugar and almonds, then mix.

Step 2) Peel and cube the peaches and mix into the flour mixture. Remove the passion fruit pulp and combine with the peaches and sugar. Place the mixture in a baking dish, then sprinkle with farofa.

Step 3) Bake until golden brown, or for about 25-30 minutes. Serve immediately accompanied by vanilla ice cream or plain yogurt, as desired.

1,070 JOY-GIVING THINGS FROM MY FIRST 70 YEARS

295. “April Love” sung by Pat Boone.

296. The kitchen cabaret of washboard and waterglasses.

297. Catholic school uniforms.

298. Service station attendant uniforms.

299. Healthy food made like carnival cotton candy.

300. “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White.”

301. Seasonal place cards.

302. Seasonal bulletin boards.

303. Talking home appliances.

304. Teapot cozies.

305. Comfortable, convertible Murphy beds.

306. Saab convertible.

307. V-neck, cashmere sweaters.

308. Alpaca knits—and the animal.

309. Catsuits.

310. “Can’t Touch That” M.C. Hammer and his pants.

311. “Liar, liar, you’re pants on fire.”

312. That highly chemical, new car smell.

313. The colorful Big and Little Edie of “Grey Gardens.”

314. Testing spaghetti by throwing it against a wall.

315. Birdsong.

316. Whalesong.

317. “April Fools” by Burt Bacharach

HAPPY, JOYFUL APRIL and FOUR SEASONS!

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Ben South