The Fall of Summer
It was the little things, the tiny saplings on the forest floor, the small things that no one notices that became the sentries of the seasons. As winter faded into spring, it was these sentries, with their heads barely above the ground, that sparkled with the first greens of spring.
I barely noticed them. But they were there. Though spring had arrived, when I looked up, the forest trees were still as barren as brittle January day, but when I looked down, on the ground, I saw life spreading through the saplings whose leaves and branches were as small and as fragile as a baby butterfly’s wings. The spring sentries, dappled in green, were the first bearers of the good news that winter’s death was near and the blue summer skies were not so far away.
The seasons change more quickly as I get older. It seems it just a few weeks ago my anticipation and angst for summer to arrive. Today I walked the forest path and noticed that all the tiny green sentries were wearing coats of red and yellow. Winter’s death brings joy; summer’s death brings sorrow and memories of a season too quickly gone.
Looking up, the trees are still green and no signs of autumn can be found there – but looking down, my tiny harbingers that raised my spirits by announcing to the joyful coming of spring and summer, now warn me that summer’s lease is nearly over and autumn is near.
The blue skies and warm winds belie the coming decline to the dark and bitter days lifeless under the melancholy canopy of an endless gray sky. And all I can do is hope that summer dies a lingering death and that it will hand on and breath a few last warm breaths even beyond the dark, dreary ides of November.
The saplings on the forest floor are my sentries. These tiny messengers cheer my spirit with their conquering of death, even as winter fights to live against the will of spring. They speckle the forest floor with green in an otherwise black and white and brown world.
Evanescence. Things come and things fade away. Nothing lasts forever – not even the earth and sky. All I can do is breathe in the wonder of this day and remember how precious each moment is.
The sentries are in yellow and red attire and they are foretelling a change of seasons. The fall of summer is near, and the rise of autumn and its cruel daughter winter are nigh. The changing of the season are times of renewal as well as change, signifying both a beginning and an ending. Summer is dying and autumn is waiting to be born. Autumn has a short life as it is smothered in the beginning by unyielding sunshine and heat of summer and at its end by the icy fingers of winter.
One thing I am sure of is that everything is happening as it should – whether I understand it or not. I see how much like our lives the seasons are. This summer will pass away and be forgotten. But it will be reborn again next year and all its memories of its past life will be forgotten. This summer started cold and rainy – and ended up hot and sunny. But next summer will be born anew – it won’t remember its early antics of the year – it will be born again free from its past. A rebirth in every way.
Autumn and winter and spring will all be born and die before summer is born again next year in its own time. The cycle of the seasons is like the cycle of life. There is a beautiful balance there – though my mind has trouble grappling with the significance.
There is an order to the seasons, just like there is an order to life – even if we don’t see it. Whether I understand or not does matter. There is a grand design which I may never understand, but which I know because it is borne by my spirit and locked in my heart.
The little red sentries, living largely unnoticed on the floor of the forest along a mostly forgotten path, portend the coming of autumn long before the changing of the leaves or the cool frosty mornings do. Very few people even notice them, and that is fine with me and them. will walk that forest path even after the frost has put the little sentries to sleep – and a blanket of snow covers them.
The fall of summer grows near. But I know if I’m lucky, I will see my little sentries awaken and cover the forest floor with a carpet of greening life again. And I will feel lucky to be a part of it all.