I often wonder if poets of old are wholly trustworthy; after all, Shakespeare may have slightly exaggerated when he described the beauty of England in his countless poems. I would not know, for I have never been to that legendary land, made sacred with songs of pride that still ring in its air centuries after those who wrote it have long gone. Of all the poetry and prose, I dwell most on literature about England’s summertime. Perhaps this is because I live in a place where summer’s simmering heat is dreaded like a cruel plague. Or perhaps it is because summer in England lasts only a month, and I cherish the most things that are fleeting, passing by almost without leaving a single detectable trace. In that single month, however, there stands no place on earth that matches half the land’s radiance, whether in the deep blue hue of dahlia flowers or the whiteness of chrysanthemum blossoms. Each summer day, as the sun drowsily rises, its rays strike the fields with a force so blinding that an iridescent prism of colors momentarily causes the eyes into believing for one rare second that a paradise exists on earth. Yet, despite all the poems I fathomed over, I never quite truly saw or understood anything other than the glistening splendor. Often, it takes something not quite as exquisite to awaken the truer meaning hidden beneath a dazzling surface: the brightness of England’s summer needed something plainer for me to genuinely comprehend its beauty.
Fate laughed when I first faced death. Yet, in that moment, I understood. I will not go so conceitedly far as to imitate Greek philosopher Aristotle by declaring that I now possess the answer to the concept of death: that is something I may never truly understand. I simply realized why England’s summertime represents an abundant hope that will never willingly die.
Life is a midsummer’s dream: short, fleeting, but able to shame the world with its radiance when it exists. Like England’s one-month summer, it happens in a sudden burst of color before collapsing into shadows. Every year, eleven months pass by before that first dawn: eleven months filled with the hope of waiting. Once summer does finally come, people embrace it and its lingering beauty that never quite fades away. No matter how brief, if I hold on to every moment that life contains and use my entire being to treasure those precious memories, then every minute is a moment of happiness, and every second is an instance that will be remembered for eternity.
The Roman orator Cicero once proclaimed, “The life given us by nature is short, but the memory of a life well spent is eternal.” I, too, believe in life. I believe that it is not the length, but rather the intensity of the length and the everlasting remembrance, that causes earth to be filled with the beauty of summertime.
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