Seasons

The air was crisp and the trees were colorful. I was happy because my favorite season of the year was present. Autumn was present in every form including the warm colors of clothing that I loved so much.

For me autumn is what I like best about the year. The northern California Indian-summer days, the crispy feel that you get when you are out and about is wonderful. As a child going back to school, which I didn’t like because I had to stop reading what I wanted, was only tolerable because it meant AUTUMN was in the air. For me the world was then and is now perfect in the autumn.

As you age the seasons melt into the cycles of time. The playfulness of life and a budding spring and its excitement gives way to learning of summer. Oh and summer is filled with exploration and the joys and perils of adventure. The challenges and joys of learning on your own as you grow up and discover that the lessons of young childhood and early adulthood must become a basis for your fast but seemingly slow approaching full onset of adulthood. There might be some true “yikes” moments during summer. Those “yikes” monemnts when you catch yourself about to make a life decision that is better rethought. That can be a good thing. Yikes means that you are aware of what is going on!!!!

Summer brings discovery of your real “self” emerging into view. Summer also brings a desire to have it all. You don’t want to see it end. You want to play hard and never see the sun go down. Summer brings a growth that you learn from trial and error. The lessons of spring and the early summer remain with you as you feel the time now fast approaching when autumn is on the way.
If you’ve had those yikes type moments and taken the time to repair what needed fixing you are in good shape now.

Autumn is the season of wisdom. Autumn is the time when the lessons of a young spring and summer are played out. Autumn is a time of realization, regrets, new focuses in life and a time of hopes as well as sorrows. Before autumn ends and the onslaught of winter comes with its powerful resolution to destroy all that you hold dear you must navigate through the autumn.

Autumn is in a sense “karma collection” or payback. Realizing that I could have made better choices has only come because I made the not-so-good-choices. I risked in life. The thing about autumn is that you can’t turn back. You can’t avoid it because everything we do in life has a price attached. You must adapt, accept, let the leaves of autumn fall and move on.

Autumn still offers me time to change, to learn and grow. I love autumn. Raking up autumn’s leaves is important and like a child who jumps in the pile of leaves (you know the one you are told NOT to jump in) it can be exhilarating. I like to inventory the leaves and really see what is there. I learn from this inventory and that is always good. I love the process of change even though, at times, change is an unwanted aspect of life. Getting through the trials of change still brings me hope. I am better for it.

As I now reflect on my spring and the innocence in which I lived it I’m amazed I did as well as I did. I look at my life and realize that it has had its challenges. Challenge is what it’s about. I’m not always thankful for that which has kicked me from behind or punched me in the front. I can honestly say that I’ve knocked down the walls that have sprung up in my path. Tearful days and nights have made me stronger and wiser when it comes to life. It is the mistakes that make you think about the new stuff in a self-confrontational manner.

If my spring was innocent my summer was an adventure in learning. By being able to make both good and bad choices, and to deal with the consequences of those choices I grew. Summer is a time when the life bank account is in “deposit mode” and what you put in will, in the future, be withdrawn. You will have to pay for your summer. Some payments will work well and others will hurt like having a tooth pulled without the Novocain. Life is like that and you can’t turn from it. Sooner or later the crispy days of autumn roll around and you enter that time when all accounts begin to go into “withdrawal mode.”

I am amazed when I hear someone saying that they really haven’t had any challenging stuff happen in life. I wonder to myself what they haven’t been doing. The fact is life is a series of challenges. Making mistakes is a good thing because it can mean that you are engaged in the life process. Learning from your mistakes means that you are progressing and committed to doing better as you move through life. Autumn is that time of the year that one can reflect.

I’ve come to the serious conclusion that few are blessed with all the wisdom they need to make life decisions at 20 or even 25, and yet that is what is demanded of the young. I hear of more and more adults in their 40’s or 50’s who embrace the unknown for what they really want to do. They are happier for it. Autumn is a time to rethink, risk and to change the course of life. “If only I knew” becomes “Why not?”
Autumn is when you realize that “it isn’t too late or hopeless.” Grab the brass ring and do it!!!
Healing from the springs and summers of life makes everything more valuable. Reflection during our autumns causes us to sober up, to appreciate our youth for what it was and to anticipate for the future what we can create as vibrant adults. Whether we’ve done it well enough in the past or are choosing to do it well at this point in life: autumn is that time of life.

I’ve learned via observation that those who seem more at peace during their winters are those who have challenged themselves during their autumns. They are actively enjoying the lives they’ve built and face with dignity the storms that life will still produce. I will always cherish what each autumn brings to me.

As I look out my window and notice the suns changing position and feel the lowering temperature I know that once again my favorite season is coming on. Autumn with its crisp days and warmer colors is just around the corner. I can’t wait.

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About Gail Nicolaysen-Shurtleff

I am an American who is living in The Netherlands. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist with a license to practice in California. Music has been a huge part of my life. Singing is something you can find me doing at any time and anywhere. I have to admit that I try to not sing while out in public though. You can also find me in the kitchen cooking up wonderful things. cooking is something that I have just recently (in the last ten years) discovered that I'm talented at doing, and it is really fun. The best way to know me is to read my blog.
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