Seasons, they are a’ changin’


Late summer blooms in the Agora praire swale.
According to my father-in-law there is an old wives’ tale that says that the first frost will come 13 weeks after the crickets chirp. I heard my first crickets and cicadas last week, which would put our first frost in the third week of October.

Maybe it’s because I finally took a little summer vacation. Maybe it’s because the school supply lists are now available at the stores. Maybe it’s because “back-to-school” ads and sales dominate the newspapers. But there is something different in the air.

The mornings and late evenings are now what my mother would have described as “airish”. There is a crispness to the air that replaces the heat of the day, and if I am outside listening to the eerie symphony of chirping crickets and buzzing cicadas, I feel it: change. It’s invigorating. It’s inevitable.

When I was teaching, the end of summer and approaching fall meant new students in my classes and new challenges as I tried to find ways to make serial dilutions and negative exponents meaningful, understandable and interesting for nursing students taking microbiology. When I was a graduate student it meant unfilled pages of laboratory notebooks that could lead me and a colleague from research on nematode genes to Alzheimer disease in one fell keystroke of a database search. When I was in grade school it meant new teachers and adventures with new books and concepts (academia was my playground).

The geese fly overhead in their V formation, honking panickedly of change, and it makes me pause. I really miss the fact that my life does not change dramatically with the seasons like it used to. Now that I work in the corporate world, I keep doing the same things day in and day out, even though the world around me changes. I wonder if that is what is wrong with most adults. The world around us is changing. The seasons are moving. And we stay stagnant, content to wake up to the same alarm, stumble toward the same coffee pot, and drive toward the same job, never noticing what is really going on around us, not letting our lives be affected by all that Nature is doing around us, but instead doing everything we can to ignore it.

Maybe that is why, when I am outside on a late summer’s evening, and the frogs calls have been replaced by crickets, and the red-winged black birds have gone away and robins are noticeably fewer, my soul cries out: Change! It’s what we are supposed to do.

Corporations spend millions of dollars training employees and managers on managing change. Keynote speakers and authors (who really have no more expertise than anybody else) make millions of dollars advising people about how to manage change. What a sham. Countless others try to advise us on how to keep our bodies from changing as we age. Guess what? Aging is natural. Change with aging is also natural and mostly good.

Change is natural. Every year the earth revolves around the sun, and because of that the seasons change. Change is a given fact of Nature, and if we stop long enough to listen to the still, small voice within us, we can embrace it.

Perhaps that is why when I feel the crispness of the twilight air and sense the changing seasons and lengthening shadows, I want to be part of the changes going on around me. So I pick up my knitting needles and begin knitting as the crisp twilight air stirs something inside me. I knit a row and purl back in rhythm with the crickets and cicadas, the clacking of my needles joining in their song. And, I have 13 weeks to finish this sweater.

© 2011 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

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