April Come She Will

promise of seasonsI recently heard an old Simon and Garfunkel song called “April Come She Will” and was instantly reminded not only of how beautiful a tune it is, but also how true. There is much debate over what the song means… from the natural evolution of a short-lived love affair likened to the changing of the seasons, to a metaphor for the actual brevity of life itself. Here are the lyrics… you can decide for yourself:

April Come She Will

April, comes she will,
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain.
May, she will stay,
Resting in my arms again.

June, she’ll change her tune.
In restless walks she’ll prowl the night.
July, she will fly,
And give no warning to her flight.

August, die she must.
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold.
September, I’ll remember.
A love once new has now grown old.

Any of the theories as to its meaning would work for me, but the snow on the ground, the shorter days, the layers of clothing I pile on every day or the space heater cranking away at my feet lead me to think about the seasons and how they change. I reflect upon the uncanny way each one has of representing a new phase or marking the visceral passage of time.

The inevitability of change… the promise of seasons is the only thing we can truly count on in this life. What is that saying? “The only constant is change?” … or something like that. The marching on of the seasons is reliable. No matter what is happening in our lives at any given moment — the backdrops of April, May, June, July, August, September and so on rarely change.

April comes and thaws and fosters life with rain. May follows and we are so grateful to see her again. With her flowers and warmth we graciously hang on to every last drop of sun she offers. June finds us tiring in the heat with days that last so long they’ll draw us into the night before we ever even know it is upon us.

July goes so fast with its high blue skies and holidays—like a month-long celebration—we’ll truly wonder where she’s gone by the time August interrupts. She gently reminds us that soon it will be time to go back. Back to school, back to work, back inside as the days grow shorter, darker… colder. September, we will remember, all the life and love and laughter that came with the start of April’s rain.

Deep Freeze

ice-crystals
Like armies taking to the fields in battle, the ice marched steadily onward. Starting at the edges and meeting in the middle, its frozen grip grew briskly downward crystallizing all movement and solidifying that which was fluid mere hours ago.

Once again I stand in awe of nature and the uncanny way it has of taking over. It gains control of everything without ever having checked with us.

So too, life goes on without regard for our plans, our ideas, our dreams, our schemes. Time advances on us, like a freeze to unsuspecting open water, and we have no choice but to withdraw… to surrender… to survive… and to wait.

We wait—with overwhelming anticipation—for the sweet, sweet mercy of the thaw.

Harvest of the Senses

Like kamikazes sacrificially plummeting from the sky, I watched some of the first leaves fall to earth yesterday. Which always makes me sad. Though I cannot blame them… It’s been a long, hot, thirsty summer and frankly I am amazed at their capacity to have held on this long with little to no liquid nourishment from above.

Autumn is without a doubt my favorite season as it unwaveringly causes me to become reflective. For some, reflection comes with the arrival of the New Year… 365 pre-packaged days bursting with possibility. Or perhaps it is spring that stirs within others dreams of opportunity and renewal. But for me, there is no time of year where change is as palpable as in the fall.

If you will, consider how all five of our senses are engaged during the transition that accompanies fall…

The wind feels cooler against our skin that—not long ago bare—is now covered with softer, warmer fabrics.

The air smells crisper, edged with the saccharine scent of our biological world as it breaks down around us.

Our palette changes to accommodate warmer things, tasting both spicy and sweet.

Our sight is continually stimulated by the brilliant colors and shifting shades of the leaves, grasses and the fields of the harvest.

Our surroundings grow quieter and still as the cool weather begins to slow us down. And all that can be heard is the distant falling, rustling and crunching of the leaves as they give themselves over to Time.

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The Shorter Days

I walked across an empty parking lot and turned, startled at an unfamiliar sound. Propelled by a sudden crisp wind, a single brown leaf was scraping against the asphalt. I grasped the cold metal handle and went inside the store, anxious to get warm.

“I can’t believe it’s dark already.” I said to the owner pointing in the direction of the navy sky… dotted with stars. “I know,” he replied, “before we know it, winter will be fully upon us.”

I shuddered at the thought. In winter it seems I never see the light of day. I spend the whole of my available daylight hours beneath artificial flourescent light… in front of the glow of the computer… my back to the window.

It’s hard to believe that winter is almost here again. Most of the leaves have dropped and curled at the bases of the trees while barren branches scratch at a steely sky threatening to slash it open at any time. Once torn, the ice and snow that has been patiently waiting , weighing heavily on the topside of the clouds… will fall mercilessly to the ground, coating everything in crystal.

I’ve heard it said that when spring arrives in the northern states, one realizes that people really do live here. For it is not uncommon to go months during the season without ever seeing your neighbors. People often grow discouraged this time of year as they find themselves pining for those not-long-ago endless days of summer.

On winter’s days the light is scarce. In the mornings, it is dark outside. The streets are silent, except for the occasional commuter traffic and the low roar of a lumbering school bus. There are no voices. No children shouting or laughing. By early evening, it is dark once again and the streets are quieter than ever before. It’s as though the entire world has retreated indoors while the cold and the darkness stake their claim.

Take heart my friends who find themselves despising this time of year when the days grow shorter. We oft forget this meteorological technicality, but actually it is during winter when things begin to turn back the other way! And even in the midst of the gathering darkness—if you take the time to notice—there are signs of life. Houses lit from within by the warm glow of lamp or firelight serve as beacons in the thick, black night.

Their illumination is evidence that we are merely hybernating, and once again we’ll carry on into the spring. The days will grow longer, the ground will thaw and before we know it… tender green shoots will shove their way up through the soil, pushing the snow aside.

“And everything that’s new, has bravely surfaced, teaching us to breathe. For what was frozen through, is newly purposed, turning all things green.” ~ Nichole Nordeman