“Sing the wildflowers up from root and seed.”
(Robert Frost, “Our Singing Strength”
Trust me, all things considered, I’d rather skip winter, even though this winter here in Penn’s Woods (Pennsylvania)has not been harsh. I’ve shoveled snow a few times and had the college where I teach cancel classes only once this term and that was because of ice on the roads which melted away quickly when the sun rose.
But I’m realizing after a day of mild, sunny weather with a taste of Spring, although a tease, that I might not appreciate the coming season without winter, just as I might not appreciate Fall without summer. If all the seasons were Winterized (like Vermont where I once lived and they claimed two seasons, winter and July Fourth)or Summerized where I had to spend my days in air conditioning, I might not appreciate the changes. Winter may come often and harsh in the series A Game of Thrones, but I wouldn’t want to live there nor in the everglades where sweat pours out of your pores by the quart.
I need changes and I welcome the seasons as old friends bringing different gifts. The ancient wisdom of Taoism teaches as much, the ying and yang of life, the seemingly opposites that really are complementary. Anything all the time, including Spring, would be a bore. Actually, that is one description of hell once made by a 18th Century mystic–boring sameness followed by boring sameness and then indifference.
There’s another lesson I’ve gathered from Taoist teachers–there is inner and outer reality, internal and external weather, in other words. Some people are miserable in sunny climates, and some feel great where gray weather dominates. While the external weather is nice to have (most of us prefer sunny days and lives), the reality is that often our internal weather vanes dominate.
In the best of all our possible worlds, it would be nice to have sunny, mild climates and bright, hopeful internal weather clocks. But few of us are so blessed. Most of us live in the seasons of our lives and that of the worlds around us.
I have finally learned from living to accept the seasons of the year and of my book of life, and to take care of my soul as well as of my body, and accept what cannot be changed, change what can be changed, and know the difference. That’s called wisdom.