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Outdoors: Seasons and 'Solvieg’s Song'

photo representations of each of the four seasons: spring flowers, sunflowers, a lake with trees, and a pine covered in snow and frost
The four seasons, as represented by nature.

“The winter may pass and the springtime disappear,
And next summer with them, and then the whole year”

So sang Solveig in Edvard Grieg’s incidental music for Henrik Isben’s play "Peer Gynt."

"Peer Gynt" was loosely based on folklore and fairytales, telling the story of a Norwegian anti-hero who traveled the world (apparently without the aid of a moral compass), while Solveig, the loyal woman who loved him, waited season after season for his return.

Whether or not we are waiting for a lover, we all note the orderly passage of seasons, which according to scientists, is the reason for life as we know it here on Earth.

Because the Earth is slightly tilted on its axis, we have warm seasons and cold seasons that result in fluctuations of soil moisture, evaporation rates, river flows, lake levels, and snow cover.

Without seasons, we would have no deciduous trees, different land animals and certainly, no annual plants. Regions north or south of 50 degrees latitude would be uncultivable.

It seems that growing annual crops, the development of agriculture, was the reason humans could sustain growing populations.

And the rest, the development of language, technology and culture, as they say, is history.

Without seasons, there would be no Norway, no Ibsen, no Grieg.

And I have to wonder, without seasons, would we have fine arts at all?

"Outdoors with Coggin Heeringa" can be heard every Wednesday on Classical IPR.