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A Photo is Worth 1000 Songs: Seasons Change

A series exploring photos, words, and songs.
Photos: Arik Solberg
Words: Dave Shiffman
Songs: ♫ on Spotify


The changing of the seasons has always been a significant element of my life. It has come to be something I genuinely appreciate, and would miss should I move away to a more tropical climate one day.   

Like many people from the Northeast, I file things away in my memory bank according to the time of year: Fall of ’97, Summer 2012, etc.

The seasons are always affecting me on some level, even if I’m not always aware of it. The time of year tends to influence my general mindset, preferences in music and motivation for certain activities.

Summer is my favorite season. In New Jersey, summer means spending time on beautiful beaches, swimming in the temperate Atlantic Ocean, boating, attending music festivals, backyard barbecues, baseball games, kicking back in the evening on the front porch.

I find I have the most energy in the summertime, and I spend the most time outdoors, although, admittedly, that could get pretty uncomfortable with the oppressive heat and humidity if I don’t have a body of water in which to cool off.

Labor Day signifies that summer will soon be transitioning into autumn. While it saddens me to know that the beach season is coming to a close, there are aspects of fall that are also greatly appealing. The cooler temperatures typically mean less mugginess, creating frequent balmy, breezy days that tend to give me an added boost of happiness. I enjoy those crisp, cool nights that call for hoodies; they’re perfect for the backyard fire pit. And while I don’t enjoy raking, I do admire the beauty in our deciduous trees as their leaves slowly die and float to the ground.

Autumn means football, football means tailgating and tailgating means decadent food and primo fun parties.

I love Halloween – the macabre decorations, dressing up in something utterly ridiculous to make people laugh, and the creativity it elicits from people with their costumes.

I’m a big fan of apple cider, pumpkin pie and especially winter squash, which, despite its name, become available once the weather cools and the days shorten. Acorn, Butternut, Delicata – I could roast and eat these every day.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year, a time to gather with family and friends and celebrate our blessings. For me, this has always meant a four-day weekend, something that occurs much too infrequently. It also kicks off Christmas season, which, although nowadays has been tarnished by over-commercialization of the holiday, still conjures up good vibes.

Thanksgiving also foreshadows the coming of winter, the one season that I find challenging to enjoy.  I’ve outgrown my love of winter sports, and I’m not a fan of the cold weather. Oddly, though, I love snow.  

Most people from the Northeast absolutely abhor snow and constantly complain about it. While it does make for inconvenient traveling, if I’m not expected to be anywhere, I actually enjoy it. I have found the blizzards we’ve endured over the years to be very pleasurable. I appreciate how it forces everyone and everything to slow down, or cease altogether. There is something so pristine and elegant about snowfall; it hushes the noise pollution and covers everything in a pretty blanket of pure white. And if it’s not windy, I savor the sound of the snow gently falling.

I’ve learned to concede to the darkness and discomfort of winter. Like a bear in hibernation, I dial back my social activities and give myself time to rest and rejuvenate in the coziness of my home.  

It was a mild autumn in the Northeast but winter has uncharacteristically come in full force with frigid temps arriving this week.  In the more rugged and unpredictable terrain of the Rockies, it’s not atypical to deal with snowfall well before the solstice, with many of the trees still flying their fall colors.  In these photos from a few weeks ago, flashes of brilliant gold add an unexpected warmth and candescence to an otherwise wintery scene.

As the New Year comes upon us, how does the changing of the seasons affect you?


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Ever since becoming deeply moved and then essentially obsessed with reggae music as a teenager, Dave has always strove to learn as much as possible about the history and culture of reggae music, Jamaica and Rastafari, the ideology and lifestyle intertwined with reggae. 

Over the years, he has interviewed many personalities throughout the reggae world including Ziggy Marley, Burning Spear, Lucky Dube, Bradley Nowell and many artists in the progressive roots scene.

Dave has also written and published a novel, “The Cosmic Burrito,” a tale of two friends who drive across the USA in search of the ultimate burrito. He plays ice hockey weekly for a recreational team he founded and manages, Team Rasta.

Reggae music has filled his life with a richness for which he will forever be grateful, and he gives thanks to musicians far and wide, past and present, whether they perform roots, dub, dancehall, skinhead, rocksteady or ska, whether their tools are analog or digital, as well as the producers, promoters, soundsystems, selectors and the reggae massive at large who comprise the international reggae community.

You can follow Dave on Instagram at @rootsdude and Twitter at @ElCosmicBurrito.

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