Earlier this week I spent a few hours working out of a co-working space and In the bathroom I heard one lament to another, “Oh, but it is getting cold.”
The other woman replied, “I like it though. I like all the seasons.”
“Me too!” I erupted, sudsing up my hands. “I say that all the time and I rarely meet anyone who says the same.” I turned off the faucet and shook the water from my hands. The woman from team-summer shrugged and I turned off. It has been cooling down here in the northeast. I like it. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer too. When summer rolls around each year I am certain I say, “It is heating up. I like it.” But I am no fairweather friend of Mother Nature. I like all the seasons. That is part of why I love living in New York.
My fellow four-season-fan and I walked into the main space together naming our favorite fall clothing. She is excited to pull out her trench coat. I am ready for an oversized buffalo plaid flannel shirt..
It felt nice to see myself in a stranger.
I was thinking about our chat later this week as I pulled on jeans, a t-shirt, and a jacket, but then, chose to wear sandals. The novelty of wearing layers after months of minimal clothing was alluring. But my choice to wear sandals reflected how the change in seasons is gradual too. We don’t wake up the day after Labor Day to sweater weather everyday. Sweater weather slowly approaches.
But here is the kicker: seasons are cyclical yet their passing marks the slow but forward march of time. Each time we return to a season, we have changed at least a little bit. I am different this fall than I was last fall. I have experienced all sorts of things since last fall, and they have shaped how I see the world today, as opposed to how I saw things last year. Even my body has changed, reflecting both and the training I have done and the nature of aging
And each time a new season rolls around I experience a sense of potential. “What is this fall going to be like?” I ask myself with childlike curiosity.
In the past, as in earlier this week on Instagram, I have likened growth and the work of healing not to the seasons, but to the chore of laundry. I realized after the seasons metaphor occurred to me that the laundry metaphor is less attractive although still apropos. While I would prefer to sit outside and ponder a natural landscape to being inside dealing with my sweaty gym gear, like the cycle of seasons, laundry is never done. But sometimes the things we wash change. I will be washing fewer sundresses now and more denim. Next summer some of those sundresses will have been replaced by other articles of clothing. But we are never done with the laundry. Even if someone else washes your laundry - it is still yours. Your stink is on those clothes. You have to contend with it in some way or another.
Laundry is a chore. My own relationship with chores is that they are a necessary evil. And as much as I have grown and changed and healed I can think of countless times that I have been in therapy thinking “I cannot believe I am here again!!” There are times where I literally bore myself in therapy. Then I get annoyed with myself. This annoyance and discomfort with my boredom or “hot boredom” as it is called in some Buddhist circles, is also how I feel each week when faced with laundry.
I never feel hot boredom with the change of seasons.
I think that rather than regarding the revisiting of my old troubles as laundry, I am going to try and see them like seasons. Either metaphor works, but I am never ready to deal with the laundry. I am always ready to usher in a new season even if it means contending with some bad weather.