Het Vijfde Seizoen

The Fifth Season derives her name from a story by writer Kurt Tucholsky (1890-1935) The Fifth Season (1929).

The best time of life? - the best time of year? - the best time of life? Allow me to reflect.

The Spring? This tall, somewhat chlorotic lummox, with a wreath of paper flowers on his head. I see him, stiff and ungainly, making his way over the grassy hills, a yellow stick in his hand, with a Pre-Raphaelite look about him and resembling an escapee from an institution; everything is light blue and loud; the cheeping sparrows twist for joy in blue laughter, the buds bud with a tiny blast, little green leaves stick out their headlets presumptuously... phooey, disgusting! ... the earth looks unshaven, the rain rains every day and is proud of it on top of that: All growing things need me so much, it rains. The Spring -?

The Summer? The land lies like a pregnant cow, the fields are busy, the grubworms too, the starling too; the scarecows scare, so much so that the oldest birds cannot stop laughing, the oxen sweat, the steam ploughs go moo, bewildering activity has appeared everywhere; at night, when the mist rises, work continues in the belly of the earth; all the land steams from work; it grows, mates, procreates; juices rise and sink, the mares brood, cows sit on their eggs, the ducks give birth to live offspring: small peeping balls of wool; the rooster - the rooster, this crafty devil, is so apposite a symbol for the Summer! The divine elixir - he sings the praises of his stride, he is the sign of fertility - see that? - and appropriately makes a deathly racket... the Summer -?

The Autumn? Grumpily, the earth's skin contracts, the shivering body draws thin veils over itself, a rain shower sweeps over the fields whipping the fleshed tree stumps, who extend their wooden fingers in an oath of revelation into the air:  Nothing more can come of these... So it seems... Nothing more... and the wind sues the earth, and howls its complaint around the corners; it burrows into narrow nasal passages, goes hoo in the frontal sinuses, for the wind receives commissions form the nose doctors... brown street mud squirts up high... the sun has gone for the cure in Abazzia... the Autumn -?

And the Winter? A type of snow is supplied which turns into filth the moment it sights the earth; when it is cold, it is not truly cold, but wet-cold, i.e.: wet... When one steps on the ice, it goes crack and develops fissured cracks -what a quality! At times there is black ice, then the Lord Himself, the good old man, sits in the cotton clouds, laughing when people fall flat on their backs... that is, when they start acting like children... Cold is the Eastwind, cold the sun's rays, coldest the central heating - the Winter -?

"With brevity and conciseness, Herr Hauser!, I give you our four seasons. If you please: Which -?" None. The fifth.

"There is no fifth."

There is a fifth. - Listen:

When the summer is over, and the harvest is brought into the barns, when Nature lays itself to rest, like an extremely old horse, that is so tired that it lies down in the stall -when the last echoes of late Summer can still be heard, and the early Autumn has yet to arrive -: that is the fifth season.

Now all is at rest. Nature holds its breath; on other days she breathes imperceptibly from her quietly heaving breast. All is over now: birth, ripening, growth, spawning, the harvest - now it is over. The leaves, grasses and bushes are still there, but now they serve no purpose, if there ever is a purpose hidden within Nature. At the moment, the wheels are still. All is at rest.

Mosquitoes play in black-golden light (light really does have black tones), deep old gold lies under the beeches, plum-blue on the heights... not a leaf moves, it is utterly still. Boat that glides downstream; what has been saved up is now spent - all is at rest.

Just four, eight days -

And then something begins to happen.

One morning you smell the Autumn. It is not yet cold; it is not windy; nothing has actually changed - and yet everything has. It proceeds like a crack through the air - something has happened; all this time, the cube had remained intact, then it began to waver... , yes... yes... , and now it has the trees, the bushes... but now everything has changed. The light is bright, spiders'threads swim through the air, the unwillingness has been overcome: gone is the magic, the spell is broken - a clear Autumn is on its way. How many do you have? This is one of them. The wonder lasted four days, perhaps five, and you wished it would never end. It is the time when older gentlemen get very sentimental - it is not the Thrid Spring, it is something else. It is: an optimistic premonition of death, a merry cognition of the end. Late Summer, early Autumn and what lies between them. A very short interval of time in the year.

It is the fifth and most beautiful of seasons.

Translation Nicholas Lakides

Kurt Tucholsky: Born in Berlin on 9 January 1890. Law study in Berlin and Jena (Dr. iur., 1915). From 1913 to 1915, frequent contributor to 'Die Schaubühne', including under the pseudonyms, Peter Panter, Theobald Tiger, Ignaz Wrobel and Kaspar Hauser. From 1915 to 1918, military service. From 1924, Paris correspondent for 'Die Weltbühne'. From 1926 to 1927, editor-in-chief of 'Die Weltbühne'. In 1929, emigrates to Sweden. In 1933, his books are banned and burnt by the Nazis. On December 1935, dies at Hindås, Sweden, possibly through suicide.