by Haruki Murakami
Translated by Christopher Allison
I love summer. When the afternoon summer sun beats down on me and
I'm wearing a pair of shorts, and I'm listening to rock and roll and
drinking beer, I think I'm the happiest person in the whole world.
It's really too bad that summer only lasts for 3 months. If it were
possible, I'd want it to go for about half a year.
A little while ago, I read a sci-fi novel by Ursula K. LeGuin called
Boundary Planet. It's about this planet that's incredibly far away,
where one year takes about 60 Earth years. Spring is 15 years,
summer is 15 years, fall is fifteen years, and winter is fifteen
years. This is awesome. On this planet they have a saying: “He who
can see the spring twice is truly happy.”That is to say, long life
is a good thing.
But what about the people who live a long time, only to see the
That would be terrible. On this planet, the winter is particularly
long, dark, and severe.
If I were born on this planet, I would want to be born during the
summer. I would spend my boyhood running around under the hot sun;
the fall would bring adolescence and young-adulthood; my productive
years and middle age would pass with that harsh winter; and in the
spring I'd become an old man.
This is not to say that I'd have a really long life and greet the
summer once more. I think it would be great to die with“ah, I think
I can here the Beach Boys playing somewhere” as my final thought.
There's an old tune by Frank Sinatra called “ September Dreaming.”
The meaning of the song is something like “from May until September
is a long time, but when September comes, the days get shorter. Now
it's fall and the leaves on the trees are turning red. There's not
much time left” Whenever I hear this song, a shadow passes over my
heart (even though it's a great song). The time to die is, of
course, summer. I want to live out my days feeling that.