The Intersection of Opposites

Sometimes computers provide lessons in letting go. I wrote this post last week but it mysteriously disappeared. Frustration. Breathe. Oh well. Here it goes again.

As we began to move from the Summer Solstice to the Winter Solstice, the light of each day diminished incrementally. At the same time, the days became warmer and the fruits, flowers, and vegetables grew into fullness. The hours of daylight decrease while the heat and growth increase. The Earth simultaneously contracts and expands.

I’ve always been fascinated by the intersection of opposites, the meeting point between black and white, the line that connects yin and yang. Perhaps it partially explains my fascination with transitions as they’re one of the most poignant areas of life where grief and joy collide, where loss and celebration share the stage, where letting go and welcoming in greet each other in the same minute of a day. There’s something wholly alive to me about these breaking and renewal points where we’re rendered vulnerable and the opportunity for transformation reveals itself.

The changing of the seasons is one of those times. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but here in Colorado Autumn is beginning to breathe her cool breath into our mornings and evenings, sending intimations of what’s to come. The days are still ablaze with heat and my boys are still enjoying the pools and outdoor freedom of summertime, but we’re all sensing Autumn’s presence. There’s a tinge of melancholy in the air as kids go back to school and Summer prepares for her departure to the crickets’ sad song that signals Her end.

Summer and Autumn meet, and in their meeting we’re stripped, if only for a moment or day, of our normal defenses and invited into that raw realm where true feelings and wisdom live. We can run from it by staying busy, as our culture encourages us to do. Or we can pause, gaze out the kitchen window, and welcome in the first wisps of memory and reflection that characterize the contraction of Autumn.

9 comments to The Intersection of Opposites

  • Anna

    Wow, great post Sheryl. I, too, have been sensing the changes in the weather as Autumn approaches. For me, this time if year is surrounded by an underlying and muted sense of sadness and loss as the seasons change.

  • admin

    For me, too, Anna, and I suspect that’s true for many people. I’ll be posting a lot over the next few days about the coming of autumn and the inherent melancholy. I’ve been wondering lately if Seasonal Affective Disorder is also connected to people’s difficulty accepting the sadness of the colder seasons – the inherent resistance to change and grief that seems to pervade our culture.

  • I’m bummed about my boy going back to school tomorrow. Aside from that, I perk up even more in the fall. I guess because the novelty of it never wore off. I grew up in the Philippines and I still love the changing of the seasons. I also think it’s amazing how Nature prepares for the winter. It’s sort of the same kind of joy you find when tucking the kids into their beds.

  • Sarah

    For me, autumn and winter are welcomed with open arms. I like to be quiet and reflective, so the approaching season is like a breath of fresh air for me. This summer has been particularly challenging, and hopefully with the new season I will continue to discover the new me. It’s definitely a strange feeling to live with both the “good” and “bad” emotions, the excitement for what’s to come residing next to the grief of what was or what could’ve been.

  • admin

    Sarah – I love autumn and winter as well, but as much as I love it I feel the melancholy in the air. I even love the melancholy when I remember to embrace it and sink into it instead of resist it. I know this has been a challenging summer for you. You’ve shown great courage and I look forward to hearing about what’s to come!

  • Sarah

    Sheryl – you have been so helpful through all of this. I still feel so stuck and finding myself searching for answers about what’s next. I thought making the decision would be the most difficult, but now I’m struggling with what to do now. It’s so hard to live the questions and let things come to me.

  • admin

    Living in the question is SO hard, Sarah. You’re doing it, though, and sometimes it helps to remind yourself that the answers can take a long time to arrive. Have you read “When the Heart Waits” by Sue Monk Kidd? If not, I recommend you get it and read it immediately. It has some Christian language but if you can read it through that (since I know you’re not Christian) there are so many helpful nuggets of wisdom in there that I think will see you through this challenging time.

  • Sarah

    Thanks, Sheryl. I’ll look into the book right now. I’ve also started reading some books on intuition, and thankfully they address the difficulty in discerning intuition vs. fear. I want to pick up my artwork again, as that has always provided a good avenue for release. It’s just hard living the day to day and acting like everything is okay when I feel chaotic inside most of the time. I really need to let go of the “shoulds”, as I find that’s created much of the turmoil. That and comparing myself to people who seem so sure of themselves and their relationships. I also imagine what Jason must be going through, and a wave of guilt engulfs me. This is just such a weird time in my life that feels like it will last forever.

  • […] brisk autumn brushes lips with hot summer, I become aware, as I always do this time of year, of the interplay of opposites and the symphony of contradictions that are inherent to life and are amplified during transitions. […]