Forgetting Seasons

Giving ourselves the permission to be seasonal creatures.

Forgetting Seasons
Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

October is the month to notice the trees in our lives. A few days ago, I was on a walk in my neighborhood and I came upon three trees in a row. The first had a full canopy in the early stages of transition: greenish yellow leaves, still plasticy and rich with chlorophyll. The next tree was a fiery amber hue, its crown fully intact, its leaves crisp and papery but still clinging tightly. The final tree was already half bald and midway through its release, some dark burgundy leaves waving loosely above and others crunching beneath my feet. A few more gusts of wind would strip it bare.

Somehow we understand seasons in the lives of plants but not in our own lives. We know how trees bud and then bloom and then shed and then stand naked, but somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that we need to live year-round like a tree during its June ascent: vibrant, strong, full of blossoming life. Why do we resist the seasons in our own lives but embrace the seasons in so many things around us?

I’ve been reading all these articles about how the American workforce is burned out and exhausted, and I wonder if burnout is partially due to our rejection of the idea of seasons in our own lives... the way we continue to find ourselves in situations that demand the June version of ourselves and don’t permit any October version (let alone a February version). I hope we can give ourselves the permission to be seasonal creatures and let the people around us bud and bloom and release and hibernate on their own timing, and that we can cheer them on, especially when their leaves turn and fall and it’s time for them to lie in wait, in anticipation for the next start, whenever that might be.