This one woman that I know, turned fifty.
In the middle of a rather bleak and rainy December, she rushed from work to a restaurant, expecting to meet up with her trustworthy musketeers, for a quiet celebration. But she was met by something quite different, a band of some nutty sisters and brothers from way back when, the kind of friends from times that might, or might not be, more or less hazy for some and less so by others. The woman was taken by surprise, could not have imagined so many chose to spend the evening celebrating her. But we did.
She was given many gifts. One of them was Winter.
She took it in her hand, intrigued, and saved it for a later read.
And when she found a sliver of free time in space, she was blown away, by the first sentence, paragraph, and so on.
The sheer beauty of the language. Spectacular.
Summer has finally arrived. Or rather, it arrived this past summer, the summer we all hunkered down, trying to make sense of an abrupt change of our way of life and potentially life expectancy, and a fear for the unknown, that rattled us all to the bone.
But I abstained from reading it until I got me some peace of mind, which apparently have been a challenge in these times of corona. So, I read Summer in the autumn month of October. Also, I wanted a moment in time to last, that moment in time when I could still look forward to reading Summer, the final part of Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet.
Now I have completed the expedition I was invited to be part of. And Ali Smith’s awesome accomplishment has truly left me more or less speechless. Her work is exceptional and daunting. And it demands your fullest attention.
So. I do recognize that reading – or rather making sense of – Ali Smith’s rendition of the four seasons may be a challenge; it challenges you to question the past and current status quo, and challenges you to ask for more: for more justice, for more freedom, for more empathy, for non-violent resistance and a different, human, world order. And for most of us, some days it is a challenge to find the time och energy to read ANY story – especially when you’re beat, and barely manage to keep your eyes open, brushing your teeth before bedtime. Still. This story, or set of destinies would be so worth to experience. Because reading Ali Smith’s seasons might change you, might change your understanding of the past, the present and also your own questions. About how. About why.
And maybe you come to the conclusion resistance is mandatory, in one way or the other.
The quartet is above all a precious exploration of history as part of the present and the future, just as each and every one of us is connected to those who lived before us, who live with us, and to those who will follow (or hopefully not) follow in our footsteps. The quartet exposes the shortcomings of humanity as well as its capacity for love beyond one’s self. It is a piece of work that comes out of sadness, sorrow and despair, but it is not a story without hope. It is a piece of work that is all about hope, and the need to not losing whatever grain of hope that is left within us; if anything, Ali Smith shows that a grain of hope can save lives. Ali Smith also shows how love is eternal, and can be transferred over time and space by way of memories and the touch of a hand, a touch as light as a feather or a ray of the sun.
As I have stated before (inspired by #11), Ali Smith is one of our most significant voices of reason.
Let us not waste it.
Anita B Krišto © 2020