SPRING—THE SEASON OF BIRTH AND CHANGE
Spring is the season when the unmistakable odor of new life emerges from all the little, hidden places where it survived Winter. There is a new and gentle warmth in the sun’s light, and the faint perfume from opening flower and unfolding leaf is carried softly on the breeze. Buttercups of the valleys are among the first flowers to cast their yellow faces toward the sun, while avalanche lilies of the high mountains focus their yellow blooms toward the awakening earth. These delicate symbols of Spring are starkly surrounded by the various shades and hues of green and brown worn still by last Autumn’s grasses and herbs. The sudden appearance of the new among the old is both the surprise and the eternal promise of Spring. To these newly emerging colors are added the long-silent melodies of birds, and Spring becomes a song in the heart to be sung in the fullness of life, for this is the formative season.
SUMMER—THE SEASON OF EXUBERANCE AND DREAMS
Summer is the time of year when warming breezes carry the perfume of flowers and the pungent odors of mature leaves. It is a time of butterflies and buzzing bees, of fluffy clouds and warm nights.
Summer is a comfortable time, a time when the young of the year experiment with life in the keen anticipation of unknown adventures lurking in each day. Summer brings a different cast of characters into one another’s experience as the young animals of Spring leave their birth sites to seek places of their own.
Summer, like Spring, is its own special season, a season not only of increasingly hot days and clear, starry nights but also of a growing sense that the tempo of the world is in full swing, urging youth to mature even though most young animals were just that—young. To me, however, there is also a sense of preparing to endure the mid-day heat that withers the flowers of Spring, hardens once-tender leaves, and often sends me to some cool, shady place.
AUTUMN—THE SEASON OF GATHERING AND FULFILLMENT
As Summer draws to a close, I awake one morning and know it is Autumn. The morning stars are a little brighter, and there is a crispness in the air. Oh, some of Summer’s things still lingered, but Autumn has arrived; I can feel it. Feeling Autumn is like touching the Earth and suddenly knowing it is getting ready to sleep.
Autumn is the season of maturing and harvest, of beautiful spider webs, and southward-bound geese. It is the time when living things get ready for Winter.
Autumn in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, where I live, is heralded by crisp nights and warm days, by foggy mornings and smoky afternoons as fields of stubble following the harvest of ryegrass are set ablaze by farmers. Here it is a time of pungent aromas from Queen Anne’s lace, senile grasses, and ripe sun-warmed fruits. It is a time to contest the eating of a fallen apple or pear with a league of yellowjackets, ants, and bald-faced black hornets, each claiming the same prize.
In the mountains, on the other hand, Autumn is a time of chattering squirrels and bulging elk, of floating spider webs, cerulean asters, and bright sunny afternoons. It is a time of cold nights when the twinkling stars seem close enough to touch and of hoar frost at dawn that reflects the sun’s light in a million sparkles before it melts in the gathering warmth of a maturing day.
Autumn is a time of transitions, a time when the flow of water in streams may slow to a trickle and occasionally dried up altogether, a time of dying for many of Summer’s flowers and grasses, and a time of maturing seeds. With the onset of increasingly chilly nights, trees and shrubs begin turning a brilliant hue. As the winds blow colder and harder, dying leaves of yellow, orange, red, and brown break loose their bonds of Spring and Summer to bump, bounce, joust, and float to earth. Others, clinging stubbornly to dormant twigs, rattle in the teasing wind. Each passing day sees more leaves collect, forming a brittle, crunchy blanket over the ground.
WINTER—THE SEASON OF REFLECTION, SENILITY, AND DEATH
Winter is a season of leafless trees and bare-limbed shrubs, of withered, bygone flowers and dead grasses. It is a time for hibernating, for being snug and sleepy in a cozy nest as wind-driven rain and sleet and snow buffeted the outside world. Winter is a time of gray skies, swollen creeks, and flooded rivers, of howling winds and drifting snow, of ice-covered lakes and hunched over trees covered with mammoth capes of white. Winter is the time write of Spring, Summer, and Autumn—and, yes, of Winter too.
Text © by Chris Maser 2010. All rights reserved.