Seasons, Part 2 - Summer Wind
Updated: Jul 13
The air is heavy and warm, saturated with the sweet earthy scent of pine, moss, and flowers. The rhododendrons give the trail a jungle-like feel with their glossy dark green leaves. This deep green backdrop creates a beautiful contrast to the muted green of pine needles, the serene blue-green of lichen, and the impossibly bright lime green of moss. The light streaming through the trees is green, too. Green and gold as it filters through leaves rustling in the wind, creating magical light shows across the forest floor.
I walk for hours over cool, gray rocks, dotted with rough patches of lichen and soft, thick carpets of moss. The ground beneath me is soft and springy, thick with soft brown pine needles, crunchy fallen leaves, twigs, stones and the strong, sinuous roots which hold it all together.
This place is teeming with life. Bursting with it. Birds chirp and bumblebees buzz as they flit from flower to flower. Dragonflies dance with their clicking and buzzing. How to capture the unique sound of a dragonfly in words? The mosquitos whine, chipmunks cheep, ants move industriously across the forest floor and squirrels jump through an amusement park of tree trunks, leaves and outstretched branches. The wind whispers its secrets as it sings through the treetops. Life. Basking in the sun. Carried on the breeze. Nestled in the earth.
So different from spring, which also teems with life. Spring happiness is the energetic delight of new beginnings. It sounds like exhilaration, excitement, creativity, joy. Spring heralds new life and fresh starts. It is a time for planning, for creating, for enthusiastic movement and joyful work. As I walk slowly through the summer forest, I feel the contrast.
Summer happiness is slower. Deeper. Summer happiness is sensual, languid, and lush. Spring calls us to begin, to create, to do. Summer calls us to slow down and luxuriate in the fruits of our creation.
After hours of walking, I come to a cluster of giant rocks and begin to climb. At the top are huge swaths of rock and stone, stunted pine trees providing dappled shade, and a beautiful lake view. I am alone with the dragonflies and the wind.
I settle cross legged on the rocks, in the shade of a small, twisted tree, watching the water ripple and the dragonflies dance. My body is unaccustomed to being still for long, my mind even less so. After a few minutes of serenity by the water, I begin to feel the restlessness. Why do you sit when there is so much that can be done? So much that should be done? As you sit here, what are you missing out on that is over there?
But just as I think to move, a huge gust of wind comes rushing across the rocks, washing over me, making the water shimmer and leading the dragonflies into new lyrical spins. The rock is warm and solid beneath me and the wind is cool, and fresh against my skin. I close my eyes and listen to the wind. I allow myself to be swayed by the breeze, led like the dragonfly while breathing in the forest.
For the next hour, every time I start to feel the rising whir of mental chatter stirring up restless "shoulds", the wind rushes by, singing its ancient songs. It offers to carry my stories with it, as it carries the stories of so many beings across worlds, across time. And so I accept the offer and release my stories to the wind. I allow myself to be rocked by the cool breeze, held by the warm stone, and bathed in dappled afternoon sunshine filtered through the leaves of a small, knotty tree.
In our modern world, we strive to move with endless spring energy. We admire those who are in constant motion, working hard, working with enthusiasm, moving and shaking and making the world a better place. The energy of spring sings of creativity and child-like exuberance. It is no wonder we hold it in such reverence.
Yet we are part of the great cycle of birth, death and renewal. We are irrevocably tied to the dance of the seasons, for we are of nature. As disconnected from our roots as we are in our modern lives, it is no wonder we are successful but stressed, busy but unhappy, always looking for the next thing to fill the hole. Yet everything we need is already within us. Just like the forest cannot exist in an endless spring, neither can we exist in constant motion. Spring energy which never slows to the languid contentment of summer loses its sparkle and becomes the nervous, utter exhaustion of burnout.
I hear the wisdom in the whisper of the wind. Having harnessed the energy of spring, it is time to slow down, to revel in the fruits of that energy, now abundant in the lushness of summer. Soon enough it will be time to run with the energy of fall, to harvest and prepare in a flurry of fall leaves for the stillness of winter rest and reflection. Our lives cycle through seasons of movement and seasons of stillness, seasons of learning, of creation, of rest, of healing, of grief, and of release. Summer reminds us to slow down and invite in the pleasures of the moment, to luxuriate in the pleasures of being alive.
I sit in summer's embrace, in this forest which is teeming with life and I let the wind carry my stories. The wind will keep them safe, just as it carries the stories of so many who have come before me and will come after. I am one with the cycle of life. I am of nature. And in this moment, I am free to revel in the bliss of simply being.
And I am exactly where I need to be.