There is a certain feel in the air these days — these are the dying days of summer.
The changes first appear in the garden. The beans, zucchinis, and cucumbers stop producing. The tomatoes and peppers begin to ripen en masse, and new growth slows down. Harvest time is quickly approaching and soon frost will be in the air.
Although recent hot temperatures lulled us into believing that summer would last forever, the trees tell us a different story. The boulevard ash is the first to turn colour. Every morning, yellow leaves flutter to the ground and heavy dew covers the grass. Flocks of geese arrive daily on the lake. Change is in the air.
It is important to remember that every season has its beauty. As fall approaches, the changing colours of the trees warm the senses. After the summer heat, we welcome the cooler temperatures. After a relaxing summer, we welcome the routines of fall and winter.
The changing seasons closely mirror our own life cycles. My elderly mother recently suffered a stroke and is on a geriatric rehabilitation ward in St. Boniface Hospital. Her life has changed dramatically. On a recent Sunday, she received a day pass from the hospital to attend a family baptism. As her life diminishes, we welcomed a baby boy into our family, and so the cycle of life continues.
Although we are sad to say farewell to summer, we must remember that seasonal changes are a natural part of the life cycle of our planet. Life is ever-changing and always renewing itself.
As Sherwin B. Nuland states in his book, How We Die: "Mankind for all its unique gifts is just as much a part of the ecosystem as is any other zoologic or botanical form, and nature does not distinguish. We die so that the world may continue to live... All of this makes more precious each hour of those we have been given; it demands that life must be useful and rewarding."
As the hot, leisurely days of summer morph into the cool, structured days of fall, we should pause and consider the weight of Nuland’s words. This fall, let us remember to celebrate the beauty of each season in the natural world, as well as each season of our own lives.
Joanne O’Leary is a Winnipeg-based writer.
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