Those of you who live in parts of the world where there are minimal seasonal variations might be interested in learning that this transition occurs abruptly; almost overnight. Seasonal journeys are often accompanied by a single dramatic change in the weather; like the markedly cold turn downward into the 40 degree Fahrenheit range that happened last night. Suddenly, with an overwhelming need to cover every extremity, you are swiftly ushered away from that person who relished the barefoot days of summer, to one who may not like it, but is capable of living in a world blanketed in cold; where leaves no longer grace the magnificent trees, while you find some small joy in finding your beloved sweaters in the attic.
The move from one season to another is often evidenced by a sickness, a cold, like the one I now have, that is not debilitating, but still makes you long to lie down, rest, and hibernate, much in the same way that the frogs, bears and snails, who are already in-sync with nature’s rhythms, are beginning to do. The cold will gently summon your mind with images of rest, down comforters, hot tea and warm wool socks covering your toes.
Of course, there is all the work you must do to prepare for nature’s bitter onslaught of ice, snow, wind and destruction. I care not to remember the last weekend at the lake; a weekend full of the same bitterness you might feel at a graveside ceremony, as the boys and the men took out the docks from the lake. Much like a graveside ceremony, removing the docks involves man’s physical struggle against nature and gravity’s pull. Emotionally, there are the images of a summer, fleeting away, as well as the awareness that something is definitely gone. There is no longer a place for the boys to stand at the end of the pier to cast their fishing lines, no longer a place for them to stand to look farther out into the water to see what is out there under the water.
There was a slight ring of the echoes of summer as the heavy docks were lifted out of the lake; the sound of someone’s voice, full of surprise, to announce the fish he caught, calling someone to join him on the raft for a noodle fight; or the appearance of yet another frog. (Each one was announced with great fanfare.) Do you dare to think about what changes next spring will bring? Who will the winter take? But I adamantly refused to dwell on what was now passing before my eyes; maybe my heart is just too tired from facing so many transitions. I pushed it all back and away out of my mind, leaving space instead for joy in the present moment of the current season: Fall. I broke all the rules; I suppressed my sadness. And, I think I may be better for it.
So, I’ll just grab my thermos, and fill it to the brim with Chai, and keep filling it up until spring comes and nudges me out of my cocoon.
But, of course, like all seasonal transitions, we must face the inevitable false starts. In just a few days, I predict, the temperature will soar again into the 80s and well beyond, tempting me to cast the wool socks aside, throw back the comforter and miss summer once again.
Still, with winter comes more reading, and why I really must stop talking about Frank.