Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Reason for the Seasons

Quest by Quotation

To be interested in the changing seasons is, in this middling zone, a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.
George Santayana

Maybe it was seeing plastic fall leaves tacked over lovely, living tropical plants in Hawaii. Maybe it was coming home to find leaves still not turned in our section of drought ridden North Carolina. Or it could have been finding that crazy Christmas ornament to remind us of Hawaii - a snowman with a lei and a hula skirt! Or even the quote I found this morning about California, "The seasons in Southern Cal are only fire, flood, drought and earthquake." All these have made me think about seasons, how mixed up they can be, and how we depend on them...or not.

Here we think we are fortunate to have two weeks of fall before winter hits. This year I am even missing those two weeks as dry, warm weather has played havoc with the delicate system of the trees and their leaves. But I never thought I would go to Hawaii and see fall leaves signaling Halloween and Thanksgiving. A Boston ex-pat, who came to the Big Island to visit and never left, said the turning of the seasons was the one thing he missed. I remember having the same feeling when I moved down here from Maryland in the days before global warming became the hot topic (all puns intended). Plumeria, ginger, and hibiscus blooming all year long have an appeal, though, that is hard to ignore.

But changing seasons seem to be signals to me and are valuable for that alone. Their change a way not only to mark time but allow myself to look at my life on a regular basis. I am not sure what season I am in since I tend to look at seasons as based on life events than age (where childhood is spring, youth is summer, etc.). As Santayana writes, it is better to be joyful in change than to be stuck wanting the sameness of temperatures that don't challenge or disregarding the subtle beauty of the other seasons. There is promise and beauty in all seasons, regardless of whether you are living one continuous spring (and want to tack up those fake fall leaves to make it different) or suffer through the seasonal changes of spring floods, summer drought and winter blizzards. Taking my chosen quote to heart this week, whether my soul is in the midst of a spring or fall, summer or winter, I will see the beauty in it.

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