- An open window AND the furnace is on.
- Spiders begin invading the house.
- Migrating geese trumpet their passing.
- Thoughts turn to “keeping seeds”.
- Stellar Jays’ and Crows’ nagging sounds anxious.
- Morning prayers are offered in the dark.
- Time to harvest the goatee and begin growing a full winter coat…
The longer I live the more I depend on the change of seasons to maintain my sanity – to remind me of a litany of key truths:
I am small.
Everything changes (but change is consistent over time).
There is a God and I am not He.
I NEED very little.
Everything works together if you don’t force it.
What appears to be only death, decay and finality is also life, creativity and reciprocation.
My attention span must regularly be re-calibrated for eternity.
The sensation of desire; of anticipation is a gift.
I could go on…but the point is, these (perhaps overly axiomatic) thoughts are important in keeping me centered, connected to reality and largely free of the binding, cloying force of the worst parts of modern culture.
(you simply won’t find room for this kind of thinking in corporate, entertainment and government environments. Even in many so-called progressive environments, these ideas are used only as a veil, window dressing to conceal the same old greed and anxiety which has defined so much of human experience and continues to this day.)
It takes a conscious effort to connect with the seasonal rhythms. It takes a window that you choose to open, a garden (even a planter on your patio) that you observe, a moment that you look up, breathe in and listen…it takes a ritual.
My understanding is that all humans at all times have constructed rituals around the changing of seasons. It was certainly the case for the Hebrews (most of the feast days that God commanded His people to observe were keyed to the seasons) but it seems to becoming less the case for us.
Shaving off my goatee and growing a full beard is not necessary. There is no meaningful, practical benefit gained. But it becomes part of that longer list of things which remind me of reality. I notice how much greyer the beard is, and that makes me ask, “Have I become any wiser to deserve those grey hairs? Have I imparted anything of worth to someone with less grey hair over the Summer? Am I ready for the day when someone else will have to manage my beard for me?”