NATURE AND OUR LIFE
--- Haiku Living Together with Nature ---
From the book entitled "Haiku in Twelve Months"|
Authored by Ms. Inahata Teiko.
Translated by Mizuta Mutsumi
December――Under the Weakening Sun
December is the month in which the sun is getting weak. The sunlight becomes weaker and the day gradually becomes shorter until toji, the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year. The origin of Christmas is also said to have been a festival of toji. In the past, people who were afraid of the sun which was losing its power, prayed God for getting its power back to all over the world.
As the sunlight becomes weaker and weaker, all things wither and the mountains, rivers, trees and plants look desolate and gloomy. At the same time the people's life is also much influenced by the weakening sun. As the day becomes shorter and rapidly gets dark, we feel restless as if our daily life is packed off away. The winter cold grows intense, chilly wind howled frightfully, and it begins to snow. We also see ice and frost around us. Under these conditions we have to adapt ourselves to the winter life. In Saijiki there exist many seasonal words about heating apparatus or outfit for cold weather. We have more days when we are forced to stay at home. In the northern part of Japan people are snowbound and obliged to stay inside of the house. That is because the sun has declined in power.
The characters of December are shown in such seasonal words as tanjittu（the day getting short）and fuyu-no-hi (the winter sun), aren't they?
In gloomy winter, people have placed their lives upon the change of nature, having not only felt depressed but also found the beauty in the desolate nature. People have thus actively enjoyed the winter life. Probably because of this attitude, there are many seasonal words on the tastes in winter.
At the end of this month many seasonal words on toshi-yoi (preparations for the New Year) greatly increase in number. This is one of the characteristics of December.