Spring has sprung into full swing with the temperatures rising day by day to a more bearable degree, freeing the people of the last few months of cold surroundings.
The naked street trees are wearing new clothes with the leaves budding into lush, green and picturesque plants in this spring season full of transformations.
In defiance of the ongoing climate change on this planet that is shortening this fresh season for an early summer of hot days, people still greet the change of nature in lighter clothes, going out to enjoy the blooming flowers here, there and everywhere.
Nonetheless, spring may be cruel as American-British poet T.S. Elliot (1888-1965) described in "The Burial of the Dead" in "The Waste Land." The 1948 Nobel Literature Prize winner stated: "April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain."
As far as air is concerned, April is cruel. The annual attack of thick yellow haze from China's raging sandstorms will cruelly ravage the peninsula, setting aside the hitherto chocking fine dust, for which China is also largely responsible.
The yellow sand blowing from the continent will force people again to wear surgical-style masks on the streets to make the fine spring days look gloomy. Adding fuel to the fire is the helplessness of the government in helping people breathe clean air.
However, we can still enjoy this bright season, often compared to youth and a new commencement, thanks to spring music heard across the nation.
Here is some enchanted music for spring such as Johann Strauss Junior's (1825-1899) "Voices of Spring," Robert Schumann's (1810-1856) Symphony No. 1, "Spring," Benjamin Britten's (1913-1976) "Spring Symphony" and Ludwig van Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 5 "Spring," to name a few.
Few don't know the "Spring," the first piece of the "Four Seasons" by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741).
In particular, symphonies can be a good lesson to our society. A symphony, needless to say, is an extended piece of orchestral music in three or more movements with its backbone being the harmony. It is also something characterized by a harmonious combination of elements.
The basis of any orchestra is also harmony of diverse instruments and their players. Under the conductor's baton, they have to play in a perfect manner, which shows the listeners the virtues of cooperation and harmony. Nothing is more painful than listening to the dissonance of a symphony orchestra.
The annual Symphony Festival is taking place under the theme of "Generation" at the Seoul Arts Center, following the opening performance on April 2 by the Jeju Philharmonic Orchestra featuring Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5" better known as "Destiny Symphony."
The theme of the this year's festival marking the 30th anniversary is meaningful in that the generational gap is ever widening amid the rising unemployment rate of young people and increasing number of aged citizens.
The festival closes its curtain on April 21 (Sunday) with Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 1" by China's National Center for Performing Arts Orchestra.
Here is one definite reason for us to listen to the symphonies, particularly related to spring: namely how to realize harmony in our society like that of orchestras performing symphonies.
Contrary to the harmonious sound of the orchestras, politicians who are supposed to contribute to building a stronger nation and a better society for the people to live in are only producing dissonance, annoying the citizens.
The rival lawmakers never hesitate to make April a cruel month for the people by paralyzing the extraordinary National Assembly session of April due to a vicious tug-of-war over pending issues like President Moon Jae-in's controversial nomination of a candidate for the Constitutional Court justice, among others.
In dealing with crucial tasks the nation faces now such as the sagging economy, uncertainty in negotiations with North Korea for its complete denuclearization and estranged Seoul-Washington relations, the politicians are never showing signs of solving the problems in a perfect harmony like orchestras playing symphonies.
The national leaders, both social and political ones, have been emphasizing the need of cooperation and harmony in respective spectrums of society. But few translate them into action.
I hope that those in power and their opponents will listen to the symphonies of spring to have an opportunity to learn the virtues of cooperation and harmony. Spring has come. Yet, spring is not around us due to the deepening conflicts between the progressives and conservatives. Is there any chance for them to get together in harmony?
Park Moo-jong (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a standing adviser of The Korea Times. He served as the president-publisher of the nation's first English daily newspaper from 2004 to 2014 after working as a reporter since 1974.