I think of Fall as the crunchy-crispy season and Winter as the silent time of year. We went bike riding this weekend and the sound of our tires running over a light layer of freshly dropped crunchy leaves mixed with the breeze on my face reminded me that Fall is here right now. The season that I have anticipated and longed for all Summer has arrived. My favorite season. It always has been. Even though the cold of winter is slowly finding its way to our mornings, the afternoons are full of warm rays and gentle rustling leaves. I walk to my window and watch our huge tree in the front yard slowly shedding the thousands of leaves that it has worn all Spring and Summer. One by one slowly swaying back and forth until it finds a new home on top of our dying grass. Waiting, hiding, resting until we rake and rake and rake each and every leaf into huge piles. I know that when the tree has finally released the last leaf, and is left standing naked and bare, we will have filled 92 large black garbage bags.
I feel this time of year is my New Year. My time to renew goals and start fresh. Winter and January are cold and lonely. Fall is rustling with motion, alive with vivid colors; change is coming is what I hear in the cool air as it sways our huge pine trees in our back yard. The only color that we see during the winter months comes from these tall ambassadors of Winter. My favorite movie is Chocolat. In the movie, when the wind blows, it signifies change. This has stayed with me and I automatically associate wind with change.
In Maryland the transformation of our seasons is like no other state I have lived in. We have all four seasons. I mention this because I have lived in some states that did not experience seasons. I became restless. Some years Maryland has very hot Summers, some years our Springs are short. Last year Winter stayed forever-- or so it seemed. The winter is grey. I feel as though we are driving through an Ansel Adams photograph. There is beauty there but it feels lonely to me. I mention to the kids, especially on foggy mornings, "Do you hear that?" The silence is impressive. The birds are gone, the wind has died down and a bold wave of cold is setting in. It is brown, gray, white, black and very monochromatic.
I remember thinking the first Spring we moved to Maryland how ugly it was. Winter was wrapping up and we could feel the warmth of the sun on our skin but the land was doing nothing to reciprocate the sun's warm embraces. I thought that we had moved into a town where the trees were tall but without leaves. They looked dead. The ground had no coverage. The color was gone. I accepted the change but with a twinge of sadness that the colors we had left in Utah would be greatly missed while we lived in Maryland.
Explosive! That is how the Spring erupted that first year. It happened so fast. One day it was two toned and the next we had green grass along with buds on trees that cast a slight tinge of Lime and Moss hues. The bark radiated that change was on its way. Flowers were budding. The skies were blue. It was as if an artist with a brush touched our world with color and we were transformed into a beautiful painting. My heart fell in love with this place on that first day of bright color.
Can I even explain a Summer in the Mid-Atlantic and give justice to how hot, sticky and buggy it is? You can clearly see that this is not my favorite season. I like warmth. I enjoy the heat. The humidity we can certainly eject from this state. It must serve some purpose but it is brutal. Which makes the months of September and October so magical.
To me those two months are spirited with glimpses of flying leaves, unseen changes and spells of delight. We get roughly two months of cooler weather, changing leaves and autumn festivities. We rode our bikes on Sunday and it was a much needed excursion. Last week I was in a funk. I was moody and tired. Being outside makes my mind clear. It reconnects me and embraces me with invisible strands of earth's energy, wrapping me in a cocoon and reminding me that THIS is where I go for peace and comfort. Nature and the seasons, with their changing melodies, sing to me when I am out walking and riding my bike. Camping and canoeing do the same. The great outdoors is filled with inspiration. I feel as though the air is swirling with a whisper of hope, love and encouragement. If the truth must be told, as I rode today, I thought to myself, this is my church. This is where I recognize the hand of a higher source without question. Nature is my sanctuary.
I rode my bike with closed eyes for a few seconds and felt such peace. I felt happy. I was reminded that the simple things in life, like the changing seasons, are a gift. A gift that draws attention to the fact that change is good. Change is okay. I like change. I like having a chance to reform and to regroup. In my mind change is essential for my happiness.
Winter is coming. This year I am preparing myself for the change of season. I am trying something new. The past winters I have let myself stop moving. I slow down and stop exercising. I gain about 20 pounds knowing that in the Spring I will work it off. I don't want to do that anymore. I am preparing myself with warmer clothes to walk and bike ride outside. Mentally I am also telling myself that I need to keep moving. These aging bones need constant movement to stay young. If I stop I feel as though I may not be able to start up again.
This type of change can be difficult but I feel that I am at a new place in my life. I feel so good and alive physically. This summer has been a tough one mentally with a lot going on with extended family. Keeping myself active and exercising has taken on a new role for me. I actually like to workout. Something that I have not felt a passion for in a long time. My body wants to stay moving and I am hoping my mind is on board as we enter into this new season of cold, rain and snow. Hopefully together with a sense of adventure.
Am I the only one that feels this connection to a certain season or the essence of what nature brings into our lives? Do you have a season that resonates with you, causes change, or allows you an inner peace that is hard to explain? I would love to hear what season is your favorite and how you are preparing for the winter months where you live.
Winter is coming. Are you ready mentally and physically to endure this seasonal change?
Written by Sherron Watson