Yo. New Hampshire. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and temperate.
Shakespeare’s sonnets were typically directed at specific human objects of affection, not geographic regions, but I think his famous “Sonnet 18” could easily have been written about New Hampshire in the summer.
“Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade.”
This may seem like a naïve assertion in light of the inevitable onset of winter, just around the chronological corner, but, in many ways, the sublime joys of summer exist to see us though those housebound, snow-covered months, until once again …
“Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”
Medal Day at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough is a mid-August event that always reminds me that the end of “summer’s lease” is nigh. If you’ve never attended a Medal Day, this would be a great year to add the experience to your summer itinerary (and perhaps make it a tradition, as my family has for years).
The 57th recipient of the prestigious Edward MacDowell Medal will be Nobel- and Pulitzer Prize-winner, novelist and editor Toni Morrison. Her best-known works, books like “Song of Solomon,” “Beloved” and “A Mercy,” seem destined to achieve an immortal status, much like the writings of the Bard. And immortal words, like poems of endless summers, derive from a deep place in the soul of the world. It’s that place where Morrison seems to dwell when she scribes such insights as this one:
“At some point in life, the world’s beauty becomes enough.
You don’t need to photograph, paint or ever remember it. It is enough.”
I’ve had my share of moments like that here in the Granite State, and a summer’s day in a lovely colony of artists, craftspeople and writers hidden in the Peterborough woods is perfect for such an epiphany. If you can’t make it (August 14), here are a few words Morrison wrote about summer — and its all-too-short lease — in her novel “Sula.”
“Then summer came. A summer limp with the weight of blossomed things. Heavy sunflowers weeping over fences; iris curling and browning at the edges far away from their purple hearts; ears of corn letting their auburn hair wind down to their stalks.”