With a blast of cold, I was shocked into a new season. Though the calendar had not yet declared the first day of winter, the sudden chill in my bones left me certain that the warm, sunny days of autumn were past.
Just the week before we’d walked aroundin sweaters and sweatshirts. Now we’d need overcoats and hats just to head to the car. Despite a lifetime of four-season living, the instantaneous plummet of temperature seemed a surprise.
You’d think I’d have learned by now. After the spring day my spouse walked into the house carrying a diagnosis of certain death. After the winter night the ER nurse phoned to report my son was hit head on by car going full speed on the freeway. After the cigarette butt with lipstick in the ash tray revealed betrayal.
Life can change in an instant.
I notice the pink coneflower frozen overnight and the crisp yellow leaves turned to a mushy mustard underfoot. My spirit dives downward. I don’t want the howling winds, the ice covered windshields, or the endless darkness of the days.
I want what once was.
My mind’s ability to leap to an imagined future is lightning fast, but my memory for meaningful moments is short. I forget that I’ve known the profound peace of sitting in silence beside someone soon to take their final breath. I forget the comfort that came from chanting with my child attempting to transcend his pain.
My seasonal amnesia also means I seem unable to recall how quickly each season passes. Hadn’t 40 years of parenting taught me that? I initially react as though only the worst is about to arrive. It’s as though I’d never had my heart sing as I hung a heart shaped ornament on the tree, saw the candles glow alongside a bed of evergreens, or heard our champagne flutes clink on New Year’s Eve.
No matter my mind’s poor habits, my hope is to stay in this very day. It’s going to take a lot of practice, but I heard the forecast is sunny.
How do you adapt to the change of a season?
How do you find meaning during difficult times?
What helps you to stay in the present?