Honoring Our Seasons: All that's Beautiful... and All that's Painful.
As the change in the season arrives, I find that my mood shifts with it. It is as reliable as the ticking of a clock. With the shift in humidity, the diminishing presence of the summer sun, the scent of leaves beginning their annual decay. How many artists through the ages had such intensity of moods swinging with the seasons? Certainly, they have been plentiful and could even be labeled as disordered.
Regardless if we label this as illness, we still must live with our seasons, not resist or fear them. Simply allow them to arrive, be with their presence and then acknowledge as they pass. There is a rise and fall as our Spirits breathe alongside nature’s inhale and exhale. Some of us sense this with acute experiences tangibly linking us to the revolving earth and its centering sun.
Energy rises as days lengthen, drawing the world out of the dark winter leading into a brighter spring. The hush of rain dampens the soil to awaken it from the hard ice of winter. Seeds that have been awaiting their moment send eager threads toward the earth’s surface offering blossoms to the searching hum of bees. For some souls the long fingers of melancholia reach far beyond the borders of winter. With the rise in physical energy comes the risk of carrying out depression’s wish for death. Yet many are gratefully set free as the sun melts away icy manacles, instilling hope for warmer days.
Heat sways us irritability forward into the long, bright, and perhaps lethargic hours of summer. Some of us are enlivened, diving eagerly into solar rays, while others are abated by its scorching intensity seeking cooler ground. Rains come and go as nature’s gardens grow offering their fruits to sustain the everlasting cycle of life.
The Summer Solstice peaks and passes and the sun begins to dwindle, the season’s flush of life begins to near its timely end with autumn’s cool caress. From the labor of man’s love, culled gardens begin to curl their once tender leaves back, baring fall harvests of pumpkins and squash. The long vines become brittle and brown, dry and dying, offering themselves back to the earth. Once green leaves on full trees begin to hint at yellow and orange as the sun recedes, withdrawing its warmth and life sustaining energy. There is an invigoration, a snap to in the air that is unmistakable, yet, melancholy becomes exposed as the season moves toward quiet rest.
Trees utterly bare themselves as brown leaves drop to the earth. The vibrant hues of autumn begin to succumb once the glint of an early frost touches everything with crystal fingers. Days shorten into frozen darkness as the natural world approaches its annual death, perhaps launching a palpable sadness with its passing. The breeze becomes sharp and unforgiving, snow finds its way to the earth veiling it in seas of glitter. Landscapes become arresting contrasts of gray and white as the Winter Solstice arrives and, once again, we begin the persistent march out of darkness toward the hope of spring.
We are part of this Natural Order. We are Nature itself. All of us experience internal shifting with these remarkable seasons, some noticing their evolution with greater intensity. At times, without the practice of mindful living, we fail to surrender to these fluctuations and are pulled away from balance; overbearing energy, intense creativity, unbridled motivation, irritability, lethargy, bottomless depression, maybe ponderings of death itself.
In varying degrees, these are inevitable for all of us at one time or another. Mother Earth’s seasons offer us a variety of emotional experiences that need not be frightening, but rather to be expected, accepted and embraced. After all, they are a part of us and we, as elements of Nature, are perfectly intertwined. There is nothing bad, just, a times, imbalanced. As nature’s seasons gently move from one into the next, we can learn to do the same, honoring our perfection, yielding to our fluctuations, in unison with Earth we may find great peace in the constancy of change.
Perhaps heavily uncomfortable at times, one season will yield to the next as we find balance in our internal movement. Breathing with Mother Earth will set us free from the fear that the present misery is eternal. All things pass. This will too. Let go. Breathe. Brighter days are waiting.