In All Her Seasons

| May 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

We are changeable creatures. Like the trees around us which have just begun to flower, we blush and bloom with delight at spring, in rooms full of friends, at new hellos; and in winter, in rooms full of strangers, at our goodbyes, we easily freeze, stark and stiff. We follow certain rules, consistent as trees in our inconsistency. We are recognizable always from the outside as a beech or an oak tree, and the careful observer can spy winter’s grasping bones beneath the buds of spring.

Our variability can help us. We are not the same person at a funeral as we are at a party, and this is as it should be. The world expects us to obey its conventions and most of the time we are lucky to have these seasons to guide us. They are as essential to communication, expression, and thus, feeling itself, as syntax is to speech. Like oak tress, deciduous or evergreen, we know and show ourselves both by our accordance and our divergence from these seasonal norms.

But sometimes, the ways we change, though natural, are far from ideal. Sometimes we wither like trees planted in the wrong soil. We may move through our usual patterns — the fire and fall of autumn, the naked cold of winter, the blossoming of spring — but perhaps, come summer, we have not adequately prepared. We were not wary, as trees must be, and did not smell the wind’s warning or feel the vibration of marching insectile feet, did not realize how the hot sun would scorch us. Perhaps our ties to others were cut, so that our roots no longer intertwined, sharing water, food, whispering messages in a slow and ancient tongue. Transplantation is a dangerous art, and the domesticated plant quickly loses its natural wiles.

I do not wish to wilt in the summer. To split down the side in the heat of the sun and bleed as trees sometimes do (though trees rarely recover from such changes and people can recover from almost anything). It is frightening to be leaving college, racing away home and then off to other countries, other languages and soils. I do not want to dry out, my fingers growing stiff, cracked, and brittle, my toes shriveling and my heels splitting in the dry California dirt. I do not want to lose myself when I leave this place, my routines, my friends. I wonder how much of what we are comes from the others around us, their roots connecting with our own. Then again, perhaps the only difference between the place and the season is how much we are fed. 

I will have to be wary, to prepare for California’s drought (though water does seem to be coming aplenty this year, so much so that it has coaxed blooms from the desert). I will hoard a little water in my trunk, just in case, perhaps a good book or three while I’m at it. I will make friends with the local fungi, who serve as nature’s messenger and a forest’s mind. I will prepare myself to put down cautious new roots, to listen carefully to the wind, to raise my branches towards the sky.

I must remember that summer is not only a dry time — it is also a time of harvest, when the arms of trees hang heavily with the bounty of their labors, whether fat and sturdy acorns or sweet, ripe fruit.

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Category: featured, Nature, Reflections

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