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  • Writer's pictureDoug Weiss


As I write this, it remains cold and wet, a typical day in the lingering remains of Winter. By the calendar we are officially in Spring and while some plants, daffodils, a few errant bushes, and emerging buds on beech and maple signal their acknowledgement I have yet to feel that sense of awakening that signals the season. Spring and Fall—the transitional seasons both have a hold on me that their counterparts fail to offer. Spring is full of promise and anticipation of the color and life that is about to emerge. Autumn holds its own promise—just a faint whiff of cool days and warm sunshine mixing and the long slide into the brilliant colors of leaves and scents of Fall.

Summer and Winter ride on the coattails of the transitional seasons—they borrow the remains of Spring and Fall—tentative at first, unsure but all too soon they come into themselves too hot, too cold, too much. Perhaps if I lived in a more temperate locale, I would relish the contrast. Fall hastens—while Spring lulls us with sweetness and sleepy-eyed indolence.

Fall reminds me to put away the tools, clean up the yard, button up the house and prepare for Winter’s tantrums, while Spring trundles out its list of projects, planting to be done, Winter’s cares that are in need of repair and rejuvenation. I like that part the best, putting right again what time and climate have dis-repaired. If I am lazy getting started it feels in rhythm with the time and tide. It is alright to go slow at first, to assess and plan, the winds don’t growl at my back reminding me that the days are growing shorter and the light fades before I am ready.

When I was younger, Summer was a much-anticipated release, from school, from the routine. But once I entered my teenage years there was work—and vacation was not on my dance card. Perhaps that is why I like to travel at the cusps, when seasons are changing but not fully in force. Things are easier at such times—there is less pressure to be somewhere, to do something, to to have a finite purpose. That is a precious freedom, a carelessness I enjoy without recrimination. I am free to take it all in—preparation has not yet begun.

If it were possible to stay in those moments—in the liminal interstices of the seasons I would do so without hesitation. But perhaps it is the inevitability of change that makes these days so sweet. I permit myself a naivete, drop my guard and savor whatever passes by—sights and smells that are foreign to my senses—experiences that I will store away for later when I am submerged in the depths of Winter or the mindlessness of Summer.

Spring and Fall are about persistence. Grass and weeds emerge from cracks so small it seems impossible they could sustain life—leaves shed in unending abundance find crevices and holes in which to bury themselves and slowly, silently decay salting the earth for the next cycle of growth. Dormant bulbs emerge, dead stick bushes send out hesitant infant leaves in hope that there will be more sun than wind, welcoming rain rather than snow. Six months hence they will reverse themselves, shed flowers and green sustainability, hiding from the cold blasts to come.

It’s common to talk of renewal, rebirth but it is a misnomer. Death and birth may present themselves as metaphors but they are only change. It is cynical to speak of rebirth when there has been no re-death. I prefer remembrance. Summer remembers Spring, Winter recalls Autumn, and so it goes on each of the years of our lives.

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