Change and the Changing of the Seasons
Change and the changing of the seasons – this blog looks at how nature can be our guide through change and give us important lessons on embracing impermanence.
Winter, Spring, Summer and autumn, as we approach the end of summer and the beginning of autumn I am reminded of the constant cycle of loss and gain that we go through as we navigate our way through life.
As one seasons fades and another emerges, I am struck with the loss of summer, of warmth and light, of long sunny days, heat on my skin and a sense of expanse and time. I am mournful for the extra hours of daylight that I could fill with outdoor activity, the long walks only wearing a t-shirt, meeting friends outside, fresh air, a feeling of hope and expectation. I am sad because I will lose these opportunities life will be darker and colder and there wont be the same flowers and colours, things will become more difficult in bad weather, more coughs and colds early nights and time indoors.
However, I also look forward to things about winter, we rest and hibernate a little more in the winter, we take pleasure in the warmth of a good coat and gloves, of the different choices of coffee in the shops, of the Christmas lights and the effort to get together with other people and spend time with family. The pull as the year comes to an end towards new beginnings, hope and light, as we know that given a little more time the days will lengthen, and spring will emerge out of the darkness and new seeds will sprout with new opportunities. Then I will miss the lights and the gatherings and the contrast of being inside and cosy whilst it is cold outside, or watching the snow fall and its beauty as it covers everywhere in a white.
As autumn comes, we can see in nature lots of changes, most noticeably the leaves on the trees changing colour and falling away. Trees lose their leaves to preserve energy and protect its most vulnerable parts from the cold.
When leaves are green they are working as organs for the tree. The green colour comes from a part of the cell called chlorophyll, which processes sunlight into sugars that the tree can ‘eat’. As the weather gets colder, the days get darker, and there is less sunlight for them to munch on, the rest of the tree starts to absorb these useful parts of the leaves. It then stores them for winter in its roots. As the tree does this, the green chlorophyll is removed, which reveals hidden colours in the leaves.
Simply, trees actively shed their leaves because there’s no use for them anymore. Doing this also ensures the tree’s long-term survival. If it didn’t do it every year, the water in the cells of the leaves would freeze, and this would rupture them, as water expands as it turns to ice.
By the time summer rolled around, the tree would have no working leaves, so no means to create food, and it would die pretty quickly. Also, by the time summer ends, most leaves have either been eaten by bugs or have decayed to some extent, so this gives them a chance to start fresh. To turn over a new leaf, if you will.
Nature teaches us that change is inevitable and there is a time for everything, the only thing in life we can be sure of is its impermanence. With every change that comes our way there are positives and negatives, things that we will mourn and things we can look forward to. It also teaches us to trust in the process of things that in time, we will emerge into something new where there are new opportunities. Every spring we experience the same new beginning but in a new way, and so it is with life. We may leave a job to begin another a number of times in our life, but each time it will be different with different ups and downs and challenges.
So, our lesson from nature is to accept that change will happen and is constantly happening, it is needed for us to grow and thrive, there may be parts of change we don’t like and other parts we love, change can mean letting go and resting or pushing forward and being a riot of colour. We need to trust in the process of change and ourselves to navigate our way through it.
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