The Seasons of Life

Profusion of the Texas State Flower — subtle bluebonnets — in a field in Boerne, Texas, west of San Antonio. Original image from Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress collection. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. by Carol M Highsmith is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

I woke this morning thinking that I need to get out a bit more. it feels as though my writing is a bit stale. Lately I struggle to come up with a topic for my blog. I lay it off to that slow moving time of year between New Year’s Day and the arrival of spring. January, February and March have always been sluggish days and weeks for me, even when I was a child. If I had to use one word to describe the transition period from winter to spring it would be darkness. These are the seemingly most serious and work driven months of the year that threaten to send me into a state of burnout. Then April comes in with sunshine and promise of outdoor adventures, at least where I live. 

I’m rather certain that I am one of those people who needs to see the sun pouring through my windows. I don’t mind if it is cold. In fact I like bundling up in sweaters and coats, but I can’t endure too many grey days before I begin to withdraw from the world and maybe even feel a bit sorry for myself. I suppose that most of us are like that, and yet I have heard of places that stay mostly dark for weeks each year. I prefer balance in my life. Extremes of anything send me off kilter. 

I suppose the final throes of winter where I live have sent me into a kind of selfish funk every year of my life. Ironically, the almost never ending summer around here does the same thing to me along about September when I begin to long for cooler days and donning my sweaters as winter beckons. I enjoy the changing of the seasons such as they are along the Texas Gulf Coast. We don’t have colors in the fall and our spring comes so early that our flowers are often wilting from the heat by June. Nonetheless there is very little in the world as lovely as fields of bluebonnets along the Texas highways in March. It’s our version of cherry blossom time and it is a lovely reminder that the sun will come out again no matter how dreary the past has been. 

Most children in the United States today are lucky to have never had measles. The vaccines they routinely receive from birth shield them from diseases that were still infecting youngsters when I was still a kid. I remember coming down with the measles in the winter of my fourth grade school year. along about the end of February. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have never felt as sick as I did during that long bought with the measles. 

My mother kept me in a darkened room because she had heard or read that too much light while having the measles can induce blindness. Since I mostly slept it did not matter much to me that I was confined in a cavelike room. I had high fevers and headaches that left me feeling listless. I did not want to eat or do anything. It was actually somewhat frightening because I had never felt so weak and vulnerable. 

It snowed while I was ill, one of the very few times that Houston saw an accumulation of white powder on the ground. I could hear the excited chattering and laugher of everyone in the neighborhood from my sickbed. Mama had cautioned me not to look outside because the brightness of the snow might affect my eyes. I obediently deferred from taking a peek until I could no longer stand the thought of missing this once in a lifetime event. I went to the front room of the house and peeked through the slats of the blinds just long enough to imprint an indelible image of the splendor in my mind. Then I spent the next many days worrying that I might lose my sight for my sin of disobedience. 

Obviously I did not go blind and I soon got well, but I sometimes think that my dread of that bleak time of year began with my battle with the measles. I can still picture that darkened room and the vulnerable and almost frightening way that I felt. Ever since then I associate bleakness with February. I get anxious for the sun to dominate the days and for nature to burst forth in its glory. 

I remember traveling to a graduation for one of my former students at Syracuse University in upstate New York. It was the end of May but there was still a tiny chill in the air. Everywhere we went people were celebrating the end of winter. They told us that their spring rarely came before May where back home in Texas it already felt like summer. I loved the area but wondered if I would be able to handle an extended winter time without becoming morose. 

I suppose that we humans are all creatures of habit. Like Goldilocks we prefer that nothing is too much or too little. We want our world to be just right. That goes for the seasons of the year as well. Too much of a good thing can be as awful as too little. The best years are the ones that spread out the seasons in just the right doses. Our journeys around the sun play a part in making us who we are and how we see the world. The seasons of life assure us that the sun will always come in good time.  


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