- Dances With Bears - http://johnhelmer.net -

SUMMEREXIT IS FOR REMEMBERING … JAMES AGEE (d. 1955), SAMUEL BARBER (d.1981), KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE (d.1915)

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By John Helmer, Moscow

This is the season for bears to be good to the bushes. When bears eat berry seeds, they pass straight through and on to the forest floor, where, packaged in a warm pile of manure, they can germinate. Where I’m going, summer is for berry-eating, so you’ll have plenty of manure, er germination, to observe in September.

This is a serenade for berrying. James Agee wrote the words; Samuel Barber, the music. Eleanor Steber sang the piece for the first time, with Serge Koussevitzky conducting, in 1948. Listening again, one may believe the summer isn’t the end; and that there’s something to take comfort in, if not winter in future, the summers past. Call this bear realism.
Listen. [2]