10: A change of season.
- September 11, 2016 -
Have the leaves begun to change yet where you are, my friend?
It seems strange to me that, here, this autumnal weather would have descended upon us so soon. When I left Saskatoon, in the beginning of August, summer was still in full swing: the trees were at their fullest and most green, the sun was perpetually shining with temperatures in the high-20s, and the days stretched long into evening before reluctantly drawing to a close shortly before 10.
I expected that, having been away for so short of a time, I would return to more of the same. As it turns out, however, even just a few weeks can make a great deal of difference when it comes to the changing of the seasons.
Now, the brilliant greens are fading to transient yellows, the streets have been decorated with their first patches of leaves, and the temperatures have dropped to match the crisp, cool air of mid- and late-October. Is it not, then, too soon?
. . .
This summer, for me, was one of great significance. It was the first time in my life that I was able to fully embrace the writer’s life, in the way that I’d always imagined it, without any concern for anything else. I wrote, at a leisurely pace, for five or six hours a day. I adopted a consistent routine. When I wasn’t writing, I was reading, walking, riding my bike, or connecting with friends and family. I took care of myself, and I took great care of my writing. It was a truly idyllic way of life, and it solidified in me the knowledge that, yes, there really is nothing else that I want to be doing.
My life now doesn’t look radically different compared to my life then, but the change has been significant enough to warrant a feeling of detachment. I’ve found myself feeling tethered to these last few months, doing all that I can to maintain the same routines and mindsets as though holding on would somehow allow me to remain amongst them. I know, of course, that I can’t, that the activities, places, and patterns which were an inseparable part of my days even just a few weeks ago can no longer assume the same place in my life, incompatible as they are with the demands of the fall semester. Even so, though, I persist.
. . .
In the midst of this reluctance to let go, I’ve been able to center myself in the calming advice of Henry David Thoreau. “Live in each season as it passes,” he writes. “Breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” His words immediately fill me with all the warmth and forward-looking surety of a July afternoon.
They remind me that there is good to be found no matter where — or when — we are. Summer has its joys, to be sure, but so does every other season. We’re not simply able to copy-and-paste our behaviour and lifestyle from one season into another, but perhaps it’s because we’re not meant to. Perhaps, like Thoreau suggests, we are indeed meant to “live in each season as it passes,” to make the most of it while we can, and then, once it ends, let go.
Perhaps, then, the changing of the seasons is not something to be dreaded, but something to look forward to. As one season draws to a close and we begin to reflect back upon its months and days, perhaps we are meant to allow it to pass without regret, knowing that, very soon, the next season will be just as eager to share with us its own unique set of possibilities, delights, and claims upon our time.
Thinking already of the coziness of fall,