Mark Your Seasons
Hello my beautiful reader and welcome back to our cozy corner of the World Wide Web. :)
Today we are carrying on with our series on celebration. As I write this, our home is being assaulted with the tremors of rain, thunder, AND lightning. Harley is sniffing the stormy breeze through the window, and I am indulging in the cozy ambience that one can only take in during a true-blue-summer-storm.
I feel as if I've been discussing the end of summer for over a month now on my blog because verily and truly, it HAS been the grand finale of summer for a month now! I discovered a pile of hail on my back porch earlier today, and just yesterday my husband was shivering in our living room, while simultaneously expressing a need for another layer of clothing.
As most Midwesterners are aware of, a hoodie in August is a noisy and irritating symbol of an impending frigid and particularly difficult winter.
I have had a busy and joyful summer with few regrets and heartbreaks, aside from the terrible realization that my front porch patio furniture has only made its ensemble debut a mere 90 days ago.
If you live in a seasonal climate like myself, with the strange annual combination of leaves falling, snow creeping up to your ankles, and hot humid summer days, then you will know how dreadful it is to experience a short summer.
But enough of this complaining! I think it's time to invite a breath of fresh air into the corner of my psyche reserved for "seasonal complaints."
So what can we do in the midst of our short seasons? Well, I believe that irregardless of our current take on the changing temperature, we should always take time to "mark" the changing of the seasons by celebrating the memories we made, and the impending arrival of a new season.
This of course must be done with delicacy and proper care, because many of us are guilty of engaging in the sin of "premature Fall celebrations." For some reason it seems that everyone associates the word "September" with boots, cardigans, and lattes, despite the contrary evidence of beach-worthy weather and pools of sweat hiding under the armpits of chunky knit sweaters.
The key to a proper "seasonal sendoff" is to not welcome in Fall prematurely. But do not worry my loves! You will get your pumpkin patch visits and your crunchy leaf walks, but you must be patient. Patience is the key to enjoying the seasons because a premature seasonal shift in our wardrobes and hearts can often leave us tired of the very things we looked forward to, even before their time is up.
When you welcome in Fall prematurely, it comes to be February or March, and suddenly you find yourself regretting not wearing those strappy September sandals for just a few weeks longer. Usher in the season when the weather shifts; not when your mind shifts. Savor the last bits of summer and take advantage of the weather.
My next advice for seasonal celebration is to shift your lifestyle around the season in multiple ways: change your wardrobe to your winter wardrobe, pull out the cozy blankets from downstairs, and change out the flowers you usually display in your living room. Change up the style of plans you make with your friends from patio beer nights to cozy game nights, and always try to keep the spirit of the season alive and well.
Seasonal living can truly be exciting and beautiful if we savor every moment. It means soaking up the seasonal offerings and allowing them to permeate EVERYTHING.
Don't feel silly for putting up a Fall wreath, or for heading out to the apple orchard. Shift your lifestyle to enjoy the bounties of the season, and fully indulge in everything it has to offer. Change up your menu at home to be a little more Fall-inspired. Wear more rustic tones in Fall, then switch to bright winter colors in January! Read cozy Fall-themed books, and try to experience nature in all of the seasons, as much as you can.
Remember: you don't need an entirely new wardrobe or insane decor collection for Fall or Christmas: try to engage in the seasons in a budgetary way with seasonal foods, seasonal wardrobes, and seasonal outdoor activities.
By fully embracing the individual seasons, we can begin to live a more ritualistic and ancient lifestyle, inspired by traditional living of our ancestors.
In the olden days, people had to rely on completely different foods for meals when it was winter, versus when it was summer. They had different celebrations, different ways of surviving, and different ways of working together to enjoy life.
Likewise, the more you indulge in seasonal living, the more you will feel the seasons of life permeate your soul and enliven your entire life. Passing each evening and weekend in the same way can get monotonous and dull, and I promise you that that season of Riverdale will still be there tomorrow if you want to postpone your nightly viewing session for a walk through the leaves instead.
Finally, I think we can mark the seasons by saying "goodbye" to them properly.
To mark the beginning of the season, perhaps you could do a simple thing like lighting a candle or having a special pancake breakfast. Or, you could be a little more dramatic about it and have a family trip to the pumpkin patch or a dinner party with friends over roasted squash and apple pies.
Personally, I like to mark the end of the summer with a trip to the zoo. I've done it for the past two years, and plan on doing it this year as well. I like to walk around, soak in the last rays of summer, and see the animals lazing around in the heat.
It's fun to do the same thing every year, because it allows you to get some closure as time passes. Instead of feeling like time has completely passed you by, you instead feel like you have taken proper care to say hello and goodbye to the hours and minutes in your life.
So however you feel is right, I encourage you to "mark" the beginning and end of your seasons, even if that is just seasons in your life. Perhaps you finished a relationship, or university, or you moved to a new town. Perhaps you've experienced an enormous change in your mindset or worldview, and you feel like a new person! Mark those seasons too. Buy a new lip gloss or take an afternoon to walk the beach and look out at the sea. When you think back to that time in your life, you will remember those views and taste that lipgloss.
Every year during the third week of March, my mind and body go into what is called "traumatic annual grief." Three years ago during that time of year, I went through an excruciatingly painful experience that has honestly scarred me for life. Ever since then, I always feel extremely tired, sad, and heartbroken during the third week of March, and honestly the grief usually doesn't begin to subside until my birthday at the beginning of April.
This past year I did something different to deal with the grief.
On the worst day of the grief, I went for a long drive through the countryside, stopping to take photos of beautiful scenery. I listened to music, allowed myself to cry, and then finished off my trip with a visit to Old Navy where I purchased a pair of gold summer sandals. I felt relief from engaging with and recognizing my emotions, and even from "marking" the season with a purchase.
Now, when I look at those gold sandals, I see everything I have overcome and everything I have lost. It's important to allow ourselves to embrace the pain of life, the passing of time, and to fully engage with the changes we experience. This doesn't have to be physical seasons... it could just be a change you experienced or even something painful you've overcome.
So today I encourage you: mark the seasons in life and participate in the ritual of closure. Allow yourself to fully enjoy what the season has to offer, and never forget to mark the changes in your life.
It's a form of celebration in its own right, because it's a celebration of change, a welcoming of time, and a moment of recognition towards our own fleeting existence.