A flock of geese in chevron flight, honk their way across the sky on the way to their winter condo – somewhere warmer then it will be here for the next several months. Yesterday, a Monarch butterfly took a break on its long journey south of the border, to rest on one of the final flowers in my shrinking hanging basket. And though somewhere inside me I resonate with their instinct to fly south where the temperatures will be warmer, the skies bluer and the chance of snow is remote, I know my place is here; watching the leaves turn, prepping the snow blower and readying house and heart for the upcoming New England winter. You know the days will be shorter, the sky darker, the temperatures colder, and the challenges greater but it is your place. And… you know you’ll not only get through it – but you may enjoy yourself a bit a long the way.
There is a crisp, freshness in the air that awakens you in the morning, the beauty of the changing leaves, the sound of their rustle as you paddle down the road, pumpkins, stews and fires in the fireplace. As fall turns to winter and the leaves give way to snowflakes, the yard clean-up switches over to snow removal and a light sweater is replaced by gloves and a wool coat you quietly resolve yourself to the winds of winter, and you hunker down for the ride. Even with the relative unpredictability that global warming has brought to the forecasts, you still know that the seasons will come and go with their earmarks, challenges and beauties, the turning of the seasons, marches forward no matter what.
There are days when dormancy feels about as good as it gets. When snuggling in to your cave feels like the best way to deal with the elements, but you know that it is all temporary and soon you will be witnessing the signs of spring and the re-birth of nature. I never wanted to live where the skies are always blue and the temperatures balmy throughout the year. I would miss the beauty, adventure and challenge of each new season. Spring would not feel as welcome, and the winter holidays would feel strange if winter coats and sweaters did not factor in somehow. I will take the good with the bad, the beauty of a snowflake with the bite of the cold, cause in these here parts, there is a sense of accomplishment when you clear the driveway of two feet of snow, and you don’t just get by, you don’t just survive, you thrive.
Adversity comes at us from all directions, all the time, though often not with the same predictability with which we can anticipate the change of seasons. There is something to be said for weathering life’s storms, rising to the challenge, gaining new skills and not just making it through – but feeling strengthened by the experience. You can fly away, if that’s what your instincts tell you to do, after all, flight is a viable option for dealing with threats. Your options for dealing with them are limited by your own resources and desires. But sometimes the only way out is through – and as I don another sweater, reheat my coffee and hunker back down into my seat on the porch, I am ready for this most predictable element of life’s cycle. Bring it on…