Winter is coming. That statement alone makes me squirm. Suddenly, one day, I looked up to see a skein of geese making their journey out of the raw north, honking in flight, the cold veil of winter being dragged along in their wake, and I felt a familiar melancholy. The fall teased us with traces of light and warmth stretching on much longer than they should, lulling me into comfortable forgetfullness that the cold sister was upon us, but her chilly breath has been present in the crisp, frosty mornings and in the quiet darkness of dusk.
The transition to new seasons in life can be challenging but they also remind us that life is cyclical. As my baby is reaching 5 1/2 months, starting to sit up, fighting sleep like it’s his job, his gurgles morphing from squeals of delight to the beginnings of language, I’ve been trying to hold on to the last bits of newbornness that are left, mourning the approach of childhood. The attempt is as futile as trying to will winter from coming. Babies quickly grow into children, who quickly grow into teens, who quickly grow into adults. Some days I’m taken aback by the little human, just shy of three, that we share our life with. When did his body get so long and lean, when did his heart become so broad and tender?
Life is cyclical, but so often I get caught up in linear thought patterns. Point A to Point B, beginning of the day to end of the day, birth to life to death, and before you know it my newborn is about to be three and I’m left in the dust, wondering where the time went, feeling excited for new stages but sad for those that have passed. Without the dark bleakness of winter, how would we ever appreciate the wonder, beauty, and magic of spring? Sorrow gives form to joy, winter gives form to spring, and without one, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the other.
Can we experience, head on, times of sorrow and emptiness, knowing that we’re being prepared for joy? Can I accept the natural cycle of the earth, the changing from summer to fall to winter, knowing that spring is the jewel waiting on the horizon? Not just gritting my teeth and bearing it, but really allowing myself to flow with the current of winter, experiencing it fully, so that spring can unfold that much more miraculously. The seasons will continue to change and my babies will continue to grow. My own body will continue to age. It’s up to me to choose to submit myself to the cyclical experience of life and learn from it, or to continue my vain attempt to fight it.