In Summer we look with appreciation and pleasure at the apples and peaches and apricots that are hanging from the trees. We are energized in the weeks before the temperatures become too hot, and eager to fulfill the projects that have laid untended all winter. Summer is like our 3rd and 4th decades, when we see the fruit of our labor ripening and we begin to taste those fruits. We still seem to have plenty of time ahead of us.
Then, in the early months of a New Mexican Fall we celebrate we harvest apples and chili and pumpkins. Red chili ristras and wreaths appear at the Farmers Market. There's the smell of roasting chili in the air and the aspen and cotton wood trees bring waves of yellow, gold and orange to the mountain sides. Sunflowers, purple asters and blue chicory line our country roads. The air is crisp and clean and the season is made more precious by our awareness of its fleeting nature. It's the time to gather in the fruits of our labors, put away fruit for the winter and roast and peel green chilies to brighten up our winter meals. Might this be like our 5th and 6th decades, when we see the beauty of life unfolding and find ourselves more and more inclined to enjoy and appreciate it?
Winter. The days are shorter, darker and chillier and it can be challenging to remember that, beneath the still and quiet vistas of frozen earth and snow, life continues. Seen and unseen, an interior growth is in process. Winter is a vital part of the earth's cycle; a time when the earth seems to be sleeping a deep and needed sleep. Winter requires an increased expenditure of our life energy just to meet our basic needs. Winter is our 6th and 7th and 8th decades.
Many festivals and celebrations of light and hope happen in the Winter. It's a time to come together and tell stories. A time to warm ourselves at the fire or warm ourselves in the companionship of friends and family. It's a time to dream. A time to share memories. A time to pass on what we know to those who will need that knowledge when Spring returns.
In the Winter of our life we continue to grow; often in quiet, unseen ways. Relationships can deepen if we take the opportunity to express love, gratitude and shared memories with those who have been a part of our lives. We can review the life we have led and pass on the hard won wisdom we're acquired. We can seek and grant forgiveness, define our legacy, and achieve a sense of completion, a sense of the meaning of our life.
The Winter of our life may not inspire the expectant delight brought by the first flowers of Spring or the sensuality carried on the lush breezes of early Summer; but it is a valuable season, a time for living fully. In a culture that focuses on youth and encourages busyness it is easy to forget that our life continues to unfold until our last breath. But it does; and our personal legacy continues to reveal itself, living on in the friendships we have woven, the people we have loved, the work we did, the things we built (or unbuilt) the interests we've had and what we've shared with others. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter-the precious seasons of our life.