Have you ever considered the seasons of your life? I’m aware poets before have tackled suck ticklish topics, and though I find myself far from the realm of confidence through prose yesterday I slipped into conversation with my mother about the very subject. How can we assign years to the seasons? That is, when might we decide we have slipped from spring and into summer … and when do we experience that first frost? Where are do the years go between? Now, you might find this as tiresome as the paint peeling off your yellow walls, but in my youth it’s of particular importance to me. I’m in the spring of life, turning towards summer: I walk through the lush growth of the trails. I can cut and trim my path as I see fit. I plant my garden and watch the fruit grow. The world is fresh and I smell the flowers in bloom. Lucky me, but I can feel the heat growing as I drift ever further from my undergraduate days.
When summer comes (by my calculations, age 30) it will come with long days – good days, afternoons in the sun – long days nonetheless. There will be the responsibilities of the season, watering and tending, balancing the swelter and humidity, those oppressive weights. You accumulate. The garden grows and so does your home, if that’s where you have chosen to live. Tis the season to grill, to chill, to laugh. Lucky you. So grill and chill and laugh with the ones you love …. because one day the leaves will turn.
And when they do go towards orange and yellow and red, be ready. For at 55 welcome autumn. The days are shorter, mornings cooler … there’s a smell in the air – that crisp, cool, clean smell that makes you smile. You can look back on the years past and be happy those days are done. You learned, you grew, and now you’re here. My my my what a life thus far. My my what a life to come. You can slow down and really, finally, appreciate what fills your environment. Even your garden, which is slowing down its production, yields still the fat and happy tomato. Lucky you. Eat your fill. Lie in fields and watch the falling leaves. Watch the autumn clouds dance by.
Winter comes at 75. Life slows, then stills. The garden frosts, the ground freezes, the trees bare. An appreciation for the silence grows as you watch from the window, as you walk upon the crunchy grass. Your world has shrunk down to only the essentials. Finally you’ve shed the secondary, those goods and guests who may have, at one point, boosted you are now on the curb. You smile into your morning coffee as memories flood and fade. Happy to remember, happy to forget. Lucky you. You look upon your life, your legacy, and you realize this: that while your winter comes to close, as you walk into these frozen woods this last time, you have completed the circle, given the gift of the seasons to the ones you love. And so you let the woods swallow you up, content that someone somewhere perhaps smells their first flower.