Thankful for the change of seasons

2012-09-25T22:00:00Z 2012-09-25T23:41:15Z Thankful for the change of seasons Bismarck Tribune
September 25, 2012 10:00 pm

Every year, at every change of season, I think, “THIS one is my favorite.” Spring, summer, fall. Even winter.

I would always vote for a lingering autumn, and I know I will be sick of winter by February, but the first Alberta Clipper that comes rolling in from the northwest on a blue-black cloud, carries an undeniable excitement — something new, yet age-old, is happening.

After scurrying to batten down the last of the outdoor chores, we can watch winter blow in from behind a cozy window. The gray sky darkens and the cold driving rain turn to sleet, then slush, then ice balls that tip-tap on your windows and seethe and hum as they pelt the roof above you.

In our bones, we’ve been expecting it. It may not be comfortable, but it does feel right.

Though our change of seasons must be among the most dramatic, other places have their seasonal changes, too. They might be more subtle, or just different. From dry to rainy. Or marked by the shifting of seasonal winds with beautiful names — sirocco, zephyr, mistral.

One of the longest-standing intimacies of the human race is with the shifting, morphing seasons as our tilted world makes its yearly circle around the sun. Ancient monuments across the globe, from Druidical Britain to Mayan Central America, have measured human life by them.

There’s a response used in many worship liturgies. In an old form, it reads, “it is truly meet, right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to the Lord our God.”

Somehow that wording seems to suit the way I feel about each change of season.

Meet, right and salutary: Fitting, appropriate and healthful.

Whether we are aware of it or not, we respond in ancient ways to the shifting angles of sunlight, the falling or rising temperatures, to ancestral memories of when to plant or harvest or rest.

When I first saw car commercials for vehicles that have different temperature controls for the driver and the front-seat passenger, it boggled my mind. Have we become so finicky, so delicate, that we can’t deal with a 2-degree temperature differential in the front seats of our cars?

These are truly first-world problems, as they say.

It sounds a knell of alarm in me when we choose to become more and more insulated from the world around us, not just the natural world but the social world as well. We do not have to feel anything we don’t want to feel, hear anything we don’t want to hear, see anything we don’t want to see. What will that make us, in the end? I wonder.

Maybe that’s pessimistic. But it seems to me that when we change the whole world around us rather than be the slightest bit discomforted, something has radically shifted.

It was by responding to our surroundings that we adapted to this world, survived and thrived. Maybe now we’ve overshot. Gone too far.

Will each of us, who can afford it, eventually be carried around in individual sound-proof antigravity bubbles? Is that our fondest desire? To be the utter master of the world instead of a part of it?

I think we must be careful what we wish for.

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