On this the first day of summer, I’m wondering why nothing seems to be arising to greet the solstice.
Spring comes with a calling card announcing the birth of new beginnings. We all welcome new beginnings, right? Well, in fact, I’ve heard that more people die in spring than in any other season. Perhaps not everyone feels up to the challenge of starting something new, when the world around them is reawakening; and so they decide to sit this one out. But there’s no denying that spring is the time when Nature reawakens and when beings of all kinds reach out in the welcoming warmth of longer days.
Fall is the season when the results of spring’s new beginnings are ready to be harvested. Autumn always arrives a month earlier in Canada, where I passed my first third of a century, before I fled the country, branch, root and flower, in the summer of 1977. I’ve always liked autumn, as many people seem to do. Are we distracted by the colorful leaves, swept up by the mild winds blowing away all the products of a summer’s industry, while imagining ourselves embarking on a journey into the unknown? However fall is probably not the favorite season for those who have no home into whose larders they can stock up for the long winter months to come.
And then there’s winter. While spring and fall feel like times of transition, there’s a coming to rest for a beat in winter. Winter is not the time to move, set forth on an adventure, or cast off the old; winter is a time to reflect, to consolidate, and to draw upon what we have stored up during earlier times.
Summer, like winter, has its own momentum set in place. It is by now too late to plant what we may have wanted to one day harvest. In summer, we can only weed out what we don’t value and nourish what we do value, but only if we have seeded something worth preserving already.
If the four seasons are like a wave rising and falling across the surface of a lake: rising in spring, cresting in summer, descending in autumn, and bottoming out in winter; is that also the shape of our lifetimes? Are the waves of our lives, rolling past without pause, offering us anything we can store away for a rainy day, or for a drought of confidence as we look at who we have become? Is there some secret reservoir in which we can store the harvest of the days of our lives; all those bales of hay and bushels of apples that we have gathered during our time on this planet?
If we do have such a reservoir, can we find it in our heads; in all we’ve done and all we’ve learned how to do? Is it in our bodies, like the fat on which a bear hibernates during the winter months? Or is it in our hearts?
I’m going to place my chips on my heart, and on all the hearts that are finding a new voice in this world in which my own life is being swept along; well not swept along exactly so much as caught on a rock at the edge of the flowing current; but I’m feeling the pull; sensing that I just need to let go.
The summer doldrums may now be in play, but a new awakening is stirring; the inertia of the past is releasing its hold on young hearts and minds, many of whom have experienced deprivation and neglect. A dream of transformation is arising in the winter-weary souls of the young who have not yet abandoned the potential for a different rhythm of time: the potential for a coming forth that is not bound to summer, fall, winter or spring, but is manifesting a rhythm that has a longer field line in its sights.
The rest of us, who are chronically preparing for winter, counting up our nest-eggs and storing the harvest of prior years, have a chance to let this new current catch us up and—like a leaf clinging to a branch or stuck on the bank of a stream bed–set sail into the new world that is trying so hard to be born.
It’s not as if we can be captains on this new voyage that the world is preparing to take. But if we have a few rudders, spinnakers and ropes packed away in our closets, this would be a good time to contribute them to Good Will; and to the armadas assembling in the harbors of this world.