The Spring and Autumn
Spring is an enlightening season in which there is great anticipation of the events it brings. It is my favorite season and one that I feel most connected with. It is like a yearly reawakening of the body and mind that coincides with the Earth waking up from a deep sleep. During this season, historically neighbors are busy putting away their snow blowers and bringing out their lawn mowers. Kids are packing away their snowsuits and sleds and bringing out their new bikes and shorts. The birds return flapping their wings in the sky as if to get everyone's attention. Along with the return of the birds, all the other animals awaken from a long slumber, many caring for bundles of joy that a few months ago were distant dreams. I am aware of their presence through traces of deer tracks in the mud and the loud chattering of squirrels among the trees. The snow from the previous season melts its way back to the Beaver Creek. The sound of water flowing down stream and brushing against it’s banks, interrupting central flow, is easing. The wind is calm and, at a slow pace, carries away the redundant remnants of the dreary winter. The distinct smell of melted snow fills the air as it seeps into the dirt, creating mud. The sun bounces off my bald head, making me feel warm on the inside. It is a comforting feeling like the one you get after a long, hot shower. It is the spring season in which time flies and man’s feeble attempts at slowing her down, are futile at best. “Slow down children playing” signs pop up on every residential street. I wish someone could tell Mother Nature to slow down for her children are playing. The naïve baby rabbits that inhabit my back yard in the early spring seem to be savvy adults by the turning of Autumn’s first leaves. It seams as if my son has just completed his last homework assignment in June and we are already shopping for school clothes. The bulbs that I planted have bloomed and are preparing for the long winter ahead before I have truly had the opportunity to enjoy the colors and smells that only God could have blessed them with.
In the Fall, everything that we were so busy finding now goes back into its boxes and rests until Spring finds its way back to The Beaver Valley. Still, there is very much going on. Neighbors talk of the events of the past month and the plans for the ones coming. They gather the last of their raspberries from their bushes in the backyard, which surround the now barren garden. The taste of the fully ripe fruits from the raspberry bushes is a sweet sensation, which gives the tongue reason to dance. The sun cools down again and quietly retreats. A cold chill meant to prepare us for what is to come blankets the Earth. I get goose bumps all over my body. The sky is still, as if preparing to shed its white tears. The birds leave shouting in the sky as though they are saying farewell, for now. And life as we know it slows to a snails pace. Even autumns own subjects begin to slow down like a Sunday sightseer with no destination in mind. The colorful leaves of the trees meander to the ground with no sense of urgency and the first snow-flakes of the season march to their destination just as slow and methodical as an infantry bravely going to battle with the blistering winds singing its cadence. The bright sunny days of spring and summer that seemed to rush by have turned to dark gloomy days that never seem to end. With much fanfare we await the verdict of the groundhog in eager anticipation that the long cold dreary days will end.
The Spring and Autumn are active seasons which often go unnoticed because they blend so well with the seasons before and after. Every season has a certain smell to me. It is the cold smell of Autumn that sends a certain sadness through my body. It is that time when I dread winter's nearing, for then my warm memories become a sheet of white ice that sparkles only when touched by the sun. At this time, there is almost no human activity except for a young couple walking their dog or a family cross-country skiing. The trees stand bare, mounted against the mountains in the distance. It is white from top to bottom, colored only by the shadows of nature. There is almost no sound. The wind is the only present force. It hits my cheeks and paints them red while deep within I quiver. I try to breath it all in but it tingles my throat causing me to quickly press my lips together again. Still, I continue watching, taking small breaths. My ears freeze, but I am usually so consumed in thought of what the approaching season will bring that I hardly notice. With the coming of the next season, it is clear that winters stay is long overdue.
As spring transitions from the slow stand still of winter to the flying time of Summer I go to lie on the crisp green grass, which quickly catches its breath before my human shadow disguises it. I feel the embrace of Mother Nature herself and I wonder what it is about this place that I have grown so attached to. Some days the clouds move with a vigor like that of an approaching storm. Other days, the clouds gather in the sky, occasionally changing their form as though they are performing a play for me. The wind is ever transforming here, changing its path when least expected. It caresses my face and body. The force is unaware of my presence. The sensation it brings keeps me there longer than I plan. The smell of freshly cut grass fills the air, not to mention the occasional smell of a neighbor barbecuing hamburgers and hot dogs, that finds its way to my nose. I am usually caught up in other thoughts to consciously notice the subtle smells of spring’s arrival. It is the sense of well being that these smells trigger that jolt me into awareness. I hear the sounds of the elementary school children during their recess intertwined with the melody of the birds singing, and the flustering of the water, when they make their smooth landings in the pond behind me. The most welcoming sound at my place of peace is that of a friend's voice. The voice that makes my stay worthwhile, makes it harder to leave. I lie down on the hill just before the range, admiring the town from a limited view. This is summer time near Beaver Falls just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is the fastest and most exciting of the four seasons but unfortunately leaves sooner than it comes.