The cycle of life depends on the seasons for rest, renewal, and rebirth of purpose. Our journey around the Sun progresses through these seasons for reasons that our ancestors celebrated at every chance. Sadly, modern society seems to have evolved away from these grounding rituals much to the dereliction of our civilization.
I remember enjoying and feeling the effects of seasons more fully when I lived in the northern climes of Boston and Chicago. The oppressive weight of summer’s heat always gave in to autumn’s cooling embrace, followed by the deep-sleep healing that winter’s frosty cocoon brought, cumulating in spring’s glorious rebirth of life breaking through the worn-out welcome of winter’s brown, slushy blanket. I always seemed to enjoy winter more than any other time of the year. I felt protected by the cold and soothed by the fresh wintry blankets of night-fallen snow I’d discover upon waking. Winter’s delights seemed to inspire a notion of re-energizing for the year ahead.
These seasonal changes seemed important to me then, and that was quite an accomplishment since I was a teenager at the time, not a period usually filled with reflective moments like these. And each year I continue to spend in south Texas keeps me yearning for the cycle of seasons. We get coldish winters with occasional frosty short freezes, but the seasons here tend to merge into one another rather than ones marked with distinction.
Our perception of time does change as we age. As youth, we tend to notice but two seasons: a long nine-month season of school followed by the ever-too-brief season of summer. As we become working adults, the focus shifts to infrequent breaks from the year-round work routine with little notice of the cycle of seasons. Families develop and seasons highlight the events of our children. And as children begin to leave the nest, we tend to find ourselves noticing the seasons again. And so another cycle emerges.
Traditions do exist that celebrate peak points along these cycles of time, and while evidence of them still exists in some rituals, our hectic lives blur the demarcations between the four distinct seasons, each with something special to offer if we manage to stop and notice. One of my quiet resolutions this year is to try and bring back some of the lost magic of seasonal shifting, especially as I move from winter’s cocoon to the emergence of spring. Time, and seasons, will be the only proof if I succeed.