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The Subtle Changing of the Seasons

The Subtle Changing of the Seasons

Sep 29, 2023

When you grow up in an area with what seems to be one long season and three shorter ones, it can often be hard not to be jealous of friends already reaching for jackets and hoodies while you are still reaching for the AC.

Aside from the winter of 1989, I have never really known snow. And even then, the memory has faded into one of childlike wonder as a memory of a memory of a memory of one snowy night spent with the neighbors meeting Santa. I don't live in the hottest place in the world by any means, but I do live in an area with a long growing season and the need to keep t-shirts and shorts on hand even in January as "beach weather" could pop up at any point in time.

I say all this just to say that it can be hard to notice the subtle changes to the weather and seasons when you are still fighting 90° weather while everyone else is carving pumpkins and picking apples. But the signs are there, not just in the fall but throughout the year.

Being a bit of a patio gardener, I always knew the seasons by what I could plant each month, but being a pagan helped me tap into it a bit more. By paying attention to the Wheel of the Year, I started noticing the slight changes in each season as the days and weeks ticked by.

Even now, when my garden looks like a plant graveyard, as I was gifted a lot of non-edible plants (if I can't eat it, I cannot grow it; I have a black thumb in that respect), I still take the time to notice the changes to the swampy forest just behind my complex, when the different mushrooms start to grow, the differences in the tides from the river I drive alongside every time I leave my home, and even the movement of the stars in the night sky.

While these subtle changes are missed by so many, noticing them on my own helps me feel connected to the side of the world we often feel the most disconnected with—nature. It's not uncommon for me to pick up rocks and leaves I find on my walks with the dog or around local parks. Different leaves drop at different times, and noticing them, collecting them, and pressing them into my books of memories and thoughts gives me something to reflect back on when it feels like the summer is never going to end.

Likewise, in the winter, however short-lived it is, on those extra-cold mornings, it is always wonderful to see those first signs of life and green returning to the woods and yards. Small little flowers, the occasional buzz of a bee flying close to the ground on a warm February day, the first weeds to sprout in the garden, birds chirping in the morning—all signs that spring has returned, even if only a little bit. These signs of returning life are sometimes a lifeline when the short winter days seem to continue long after the winter solstice has passed. Because once you notice them, you begin to notice the lengthening of the days, a sign that the warmth you crave isn't far off. Likewise, when the heat of the summer begins to drain and makes you feel a bit insane, you will begin to notice the sun setting a little sooner each day and the nights growing ever slightly cooler as they grow in length.

Time is nothing but a clock, kept in motion by the subtle changing of the seasons.

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Photo by zero take on Unsplash

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