Fall is an amazing, strikingly colorful time of year. It is one of the most spectacular and obvious examples of nature’s dramatic propensity to change. We move from the greens, tans and deep blue skies of summer to the miracle of yellows, oranges and reds painting the sky from the ground up, leaves falling and flying, crisp morning and evening temperatures and the occasional surprise of snow on the ground— a harbinger of the winter to come.
Winter is a time of quiet and for many people, the call to nest indoors. Time to go inward, sit in front of a fire, do a puzzle, read books, clean out our closets. Winter seems uninviting to most, but some relish the cold and dark, the beauty of the bare trees and persistent green of pines and evergreens. There are a hush and a feeling of dormancy, things die but beneath the ground, hibernate to re-emerge in the spring.
Over our life cycle, we experience our own circle of seasons with all of the attendant drama, discomfort, and fruitfulness that accompany this journey. We travel through a complete round of all four seasons—their transitions and their beauty—if we are fortunate enough to live long enough to experience them. The seasons are both predictable and sometimes surprising. We have our favorites and those we don’t look forward to, perhaps even dread. But every season has its beauty, things we love, things we lose and an underlying sense of purpose.
Poets, writers, and philosophers often speak about the seasons of nature as a metaphor for the seasons of our lives. The birth and childhood of spring, the rapid growth and development into the young adulthood of summer, the realization of dreams and intentions during the mid-life, fall season of our lives, and the quiet wisdom, physical challenges and eventuality of death associated with the late-life winter of our years.
The change of seasons also includes mixtures of the seasons. Seasonal transitions usually happen gradually. We’ve all seen the last of beautiful pink, white and purple summer flowers blooming in and among golden fall leaves blanketing the earth, tulips poking their heads up in out of late spring snows and the occasional warm, sunny days that occur unexpectedly in winter. There is value in observing and appreciating the rhythms deeply embedded in the cycles of nature. Let’s reflect on the changing seasons in our own lives.
- What season or cusp of season do you feel that you are currently living? Are you in active seasonal transition or have you come to reside in a particular season of your life?
- Which season of the year do you love the most and which do you like the least?
- How do you imagine the next season of your life unfolding? Or, if you are in the winter of your life, what do you hope to create or experience during this phase of your life?
- Do you have significant relationships with people in other life seasons? How do these cross-generational relationships influence your experience of your own life season?