A few weeks ago, I asked my followers on Facebook an innocuous question: What is your favorite season? Their answers — which were all identical, and I will share in a minute — made me realize that as the Earth has cycles and rhythms, there are seasons of life as well.
What a glorious and vibrant time.
The Earth awakens from its wintery slumber.
It is the season when all is reborn. Flowers and trees bloom in their magnificent glory. Animals frolick and then, birth their young.
For humans, Spring is the time when we are born and then go through childhood.
It is a time full of firsts and beginnings. There is — or should be — a sweetness and gentleness about our Springtime.
Spring is a giddy time, a season effervescent with life, energy, light, and color.
Summer is an intense time when light and heat are at their zenith.
Everything seems bright and loud!
It is a time for late nights, fireflies and pesky mosquitos.
In summer, we enjoy shorts and sandals, cotton dresses, sand between our toes, lazy evenings on the porch, and jumping in the waves.
Some of us, visit grandparents and spent time with them for a spell.
Summer is most certainly a busy time, with vacations, sightseeing, traveling, end of school, beginning of school, and long summer days spent with friends.
Everything is a tad off kilter as tight schedules are forgotten for more laissez-faire days.
Summer means no school!
For humans, Summer is adulthood.
The busiest time of life for many us.
“Human summer” is when we strike it out on our own away from our family of origin. Many of us will establish a career, maybe marry and raise our 2.3 children, and often buy a house.
Summer is a “go-go-go” time when we usually feel at the peak of life.
Fall or Autumn
Nature again dazzles us with its colors although we no longer see the majestic and colorful display of Springtime with its profusion of every color. Instead, the Earth dazzles us with a fiery array of hues.
Fall envelops us with its warmth and heralds the coming winter months.
The ambient light is more subdued, the days shorter.
There is a nip in the air once again.
Kids are in school once more and life has returned to a quieter flow. One with more predictable rhythms
For humans, it is the middle age years. The infamous middle-age so many dread.
Autumn ushers the empty nest, the grand-babies, and often retirement.
There is a slowing down. We adopt a more leisurely pace and make it a point to savor life more.
With Autumn comes the loss of our physical beauty as we become robed in wisdom — we hope — and peace instead.
Fall can be a quiet and fulfilling place.
Winter is bleak and cold and dreary (unless you live in Arizona). Indeed, in the Sonoran desert, the winters are glorious and the best time of the year.
Winter is when things die and when the days are short and the night long and cold.
Yet, winter can still be majestic with snow-capped mountains or white — still unblemished — morning snow. There are also moments of family togetherness, Holidays like Christmas, warm fires, soft blankets, and cups of warm apple cider — or hot cocoa.
For humans, Winter is our older years. The years which foretells the end of our life.
During our winter years, we are very aware of our mortality and maybe also of our frailty.
For those in the winter season, they are the patriarchs and matriarchs of their families. They may have the joy to see children, grandchildren, and maybe even great-grandchildren.
It is the time when we get to turn around and see the fruits of our life and at the same time, we can turn around to see the end of our life.
The Seasons of Life
The seasons of Nature and the seasons of life…each punctuate the rhythm of our lives.
Everyone is born and then dies.
The tide goes in and then the tide goes out.
Endless cycles no one can escape.
To my question: “what is your favorite season?”, 100% of the answers were Fall.
As I read these answers, I also realized that this would be mine as well.
It did dawn on me that out all the seasons of life, Fall — so far — is my favorite.
Yes, the beauty of my youth is waning. My body no longer has the shape of my much younger me. Gravity slowly encroaches on what I once not only took for granted but also forgot to appreciate.
Additionally, there is a sense of being less. Not less of a person but less noticeable.
Nevertheless, to me so far, these Autumn years are glorious.
Also gone are the worries about my looks, what people will think of me, fear of what others may say, or not being included in the “click.” There is a sense of freedom, serenity, and joy, I never had before.
There is a certain calm I can’t quite explain which envelopes me like a cloak. I see the world’s beauty much more than I did in my younger years. I see people more as well. Of course, I do not mean their physical form, I always saw that. I do mean “THEM.” The soul inside the body.
I see personhood more than “bodyhood.” Likewise, I see people who have struggles and joys. Complex beings living a complex life, just like me.
I see children in a different light as well.
Fall is as if the world has taken a different hue — and indeed it has.
In my case, I am also already the matriarch. My parents were taken from me when I was still too young — in my opinion — making me realize that life is indeed short and unpredictable.
This realization made me slow down while not necessarily in life, but deep inside. Although my calendar is still marked full with activities, internally, there is a peace which was not here before and which I welcome with gratefulness.
Fall also marks the time I started to work on me. I take time to smell the roses per say, and I have become much more mindful.
The Seasons of Life: Fall
I think Fall is the time when we fully relish long talks on the porch with a glass of lemonade or a warm cup of cocoa or by a crackling fire. Autumn is the opportunity to slow down, and deeply inhale as we take life all in.
Indeed, we inhale slowly and deeply and then, sigh even deeper.
Fall is a time full of paradoxes. On one hand, we can let things roll off our back like water on a duck or on the other hand, speak our mind like we have never done before. It is at time of ambivalence with “blah, let it go” counterbalanced with a “no more, not on my watch.”
There is definitely a new fire in the pit of my stomach. A zest for life I did not have before. A sense that all is well and I better enjoy it WHOLEHEARTEDLY because the days indeed are short and getting shorter.
Autumn is dazzling and maybe this is why it is most people’s favorite time of the year.
What is your favorite time of the year?
And, as far as the seasons of life go, where are you in that cycle?