The Autumn of Spring

Last week, during one of Boulder’s common wild wind storms, Everest looked out the window and said, “Mommy, it’s snowing!” The flurry of white flying outside our windows certainly did look like snow but it was, in fact, apple blossoms. As I sat later that evening looking out our bedroom window and feeling yet another shift in the seasons, I realized that we’re in the autumn of spring, the decrescendo following the crescendo of rebirth that reached an exquisite peak the previous week.

If we view the cycle of the seasons through the lens of transitions, we understand that each season carries an invitation: during autumn, we practice letting go of habits, attitudes, and thoughts that are no longer serving us; during winter, inside the stillness of a quiet cocoon, we rest, lie fallow, and practice the nearly lost art of being; during spring, we emerge and notice the new skills, thoughts, and resources that were waiting for enough warmth and light to push above ground; and in summer, we celebrate, play, and enjoy the fullness and beauty of who we are.

In witnessing the autumn of spring, I was reminded that life, like the seasons, isn’t linear and can’t be divided into four neat categories. When we’re in transition, we grieve during the first stage of letting go, but the grief appears in waves for months, or even years, afterwards. Spring certainly isn’t the season of loss, but that doesn’t mean that autumn, spring’s counterpoint, doesn’t make an appearance. Even amidst the rebirth and beauty that surrounds us, there’s still moments of loss. Those whitish-pink blossoms that filled our apple tree into a display of breathtaking beauty are gone, and with their flight down to earth and onto our grass, I felt a sense of loss. When I shared this with my husband he said, “Oh yes, when I was a kid we had an enormous cherry tree in our backyard whose canopy must have spread out over sixty feet. The blossoms were so beautiful, and when they were gone I always felt loss.” (I really love this man).

Is the autumn of spring inviting us to turn inward before we shift outward again for the celebration of summer? If we find ourselves more reflective and moody these days, is it because we’re tapping into the invisible fabric of loss that is present today? Many people swear by the effect the configuration of the stars and planets have on their mood. For me, it’s the cycles of the seasons, the transitions that we bear witness to through our five senses and the sixth sense that, sometimes, is so difficult to articulate.