Sunday, August 29, 2010

Would you keep a chive on your tooth just because you enjoyed last night's potato?  ~From the television show Boston Common

A hiking trail reveals a
Fall surprise
Summer is winding down and signs of Fall are everywhere. I noticed during an early walk today,  it was darker this morning, fewer birds were chirping, and there was a chill in the air requiring a sweat shirt my first few laps. Heading home, I could see my flowers are looking slightly brownish around the edges, and the luscious tomatoes I have been savoring from my patio plant in the past month, refuses to hand over anymore fruit.  It looks a bit raggedy too.  Where did our summer go?  I rejoiced (probably squealed) when I caught the first healing rays of sun, mid April, after the long stretch of my icy isolation last winter. The sunshine alone was enough stimulation of electro-shock therapy my brain needed to nourish my half dead cells! But, oh, that first tickle of warmer air on my skin, made me shiver in delight.  Summer represents to me, a time of illumination and clarity. It’s a chance to stretch your body in the natural world and an opportunity to quickly connect to God’s love, in His outdoor mansion. Flowers are feng shui to the spirit,  green, lush trees provide cool respite.  Sandy beaches beckon a mindless stroll. Soothing shoreline waters stimulate meditation and awaken our senses to the power of His willingness to baptize our broken hearts and help us write on them a commitment to new dreams.  

 My daughter, on the other hand, loves Fall.  It is her favorite time of year... For her it’s all about fluffy sweaters and jeans, open windows, and blankets to cuddle under. The trees turn red, yellow and orange and fire up the horizon: It’s about bonfires, harvest moons that dangle in the sky like a prop from a stage production, juicy new apples, freshly picked; and the return of routines as kids go back to school, vacations come to an end.  I understand her delight in Fall’s flavors, sensations, and traditions.  Truth be known, really, my only problem with Fall is that it precedes Winter.  I hate being cold almost all the time.  I don’t like the feeling of being trapped by the treacherous road conditions and mounds of snow.  I also don’t like the heart pounding fright of precarious driving conditions, should I decide to put my down-filled brave vest on, and venture out. 

So, in the chill of this morning, I thought about this coming winter, and managed to stop myself cold (pun intended) in curling up my nose.  I said to myself, “Self, you’re projecting and that’s hardly living mindfully”.  It lead me to the recognition that our seasons were created for our purpose as well as the agricultural world and animal kingdom.  We all come from the same energy. Beyond the allegory the seasons represent our life cycle, there is clearly a time and purpose for everything under heaven. A time to sow and a time to reap. A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to keep silent and a time to speak. Would it be fulfilling to be in a constant state of mourning, silent all the time, or dancing my little legs off?  I enjoy summer immensely, but, would I really enjoy it all that much if it was a permanent state, year round?  Especially with my tendency towards boredom.  More important, if there was only one season, would I make any new discoveries, learn to snow ski, create new soup recipes to warm the bones, crochet an afghan (my first attempt looked like a giant diaper)?  Would I find I am stronger and more competent than I ever imagined in digging my car out from under four feet of snow?  I would miss my roaring fires, long lazy Sundays, too treacherous to do anything but lounge with the latest bestseller in my lap, dozing and sipping mint tea, the smell of homemade chicken noodle soup simmering on the stove.

I’ve lived in year round sunny, warmer and dryer climates in my young years. Returning to visit relatives in December was excitedly anticipated back then.  My brother and I loved whopping it up in the snow.  Our cousins would slink away, embarrassed by our zealousness... the crazy relatives from out of state. We were used to our aerosol snow, straight from the can, coating the windows to lend the illusion of a White Christmas. It went well with our silver tree with blue bulbs and the rotating light box changing, color every 5 seconds. When our cousins came to visit us, they thought our spray snow and silver tree was very chic and cool.  Those worldly, 60's cousins..... Why is the sunshine/snow always brighter on the other side?

What happened to my appreciation for life on life's terms, one day at a time, savoring each season, complete with the different pleasures each brings?  When I was a child, I longed for what I didn't have, and tried to capture it artificially.  It never brought near the satisfaction as relaxing into the  awe of what was unfolding, in God's world.   I think it may be just like using a tanning bed, in the dead of winter in order to keep that summer glow.  It’s unnatural.  Why not look for the beauty where we are, and recognize all good things must come to an end in order to make room for other good things?  Why not use the winter as time to give our skin a break, use our minds and souls more, and our bodies just a little less?  Hibernate. Regroup. Nurture. Learn. If you can't change the world you're in, change your inner world, and the world you're in, will change.
 Hmmm... I thought as I walked in the crisper air. I think I'm onto something here. I will try to take each season as it comes, and enjoy whatever presents itself.  Whether that be the smell of the leaves I rake, the taste of a great pumpkin pie, a snowflake on my tongue, or the take your breath away beauty of the first nighttime snowfall.   Besides, its a chance to try my hand at a new afghan!  And, there's always a quick trip to Ft. Lauderdale late January.......

“What you resist, persists”. Carl Jung