I tend to make a big deal out of the beginning of each season. I do this in part due to my spiritual and religious beliefs. But I also do it because I believe nature is a wonderful teacher of very important lessons. It’s a wonderful way to help my children understand that everything changes. That there is a time for everything, for birds to sing, and plants to bloom, for rain to fall and leaves to change color, for everything. I know my boys have trouble with change, and what a beautiful way to help show them that not every change has to be bad than to celebrate each new season. It is also a wonderful teacher about the value of uniqueness, as well as so many other vital life lessons.
On the first day of spring we plant seeds in egg cartons, we talk about how the earth is slowly getting warmer, the days are growing longer, plants will grow and bloom, and animals in the wild will have babies. We speak of how what we plant in life with our words and deeds grows in time and blooms for all to see. We speak of how we must choose wisely what we plant. We look at how each seed we plant is slightly different from the others, in size or color or even in what plant will come from it, and the fantasticness of having a garden made up of all different flowers. We talk of the beauty that comes from all those unique blooms blossoming together.
Then on the first day of summer we get up really early to watch the sun rise. We talk about how it’s the day with the most sunlight of the year. We look at how much our plants have grown since spring, and we talk about how they will continue to grow throughout the summer months. We speak of how our deeds and actions have been creating ripples in our lives as the effects of them grow, and we talk about making sure they are starting to bloom the way we want through positivity, kindness, honesty and honor. We pick strawberries to make jam. We look at the different strawberries we pick, some small, some large, some dark, some light, some sweet, some bitter, and we make our jam, knowing that all of those unique strawberries are what give our solstice jam it’s delicious flavor. We blow bubbles and chase them, watching as the summer sun makes rainbows within each one.
On the first day of fall we pick apples to make spiced apple jelly, and apple cider with. We speak of the harvests, such as the one of our apple harvesting. We talk about the harvesting of our deeds and words. We look back and reflect on our emotional, social, spiritual harvest. Do we feel fulfilled with what has been sown and reaped in our lives? We speak of how lucky we are to have all that we do, and we show our gratitude by sharing with others. We look in fascination at the uniqueness of each apple’s patterns of swirling greens and reds, no two the same. We laugh and run amongst leaves or grasses still green, feeling the sharp scent of autumn that floats upon the air.
On the first day of winter we watch the setting sun, cozied up together in blankets on the couch, drinking hot chocolate, and eating flaky buttery biscuits smeared with the strawberry jam from summer solstice. We talk of old man winter who will be with us for awhile. We look towards the coming dark time as a time to plan for all that we want to accomplish in the busy times of spring, summer, and fall. We speak about the uniqueness of snowflakes, and pastries and of people. How all are unique and valuable. How all the unique snowflakes make up the hill covered in snow that we go sledding on. We speak about love, and our blessed state to have each other as we watch the snow.
We speak of these things on those days and on many others because they are important. Change is natural and seeing change within nature which changes always and yet always go back to the same is beautiful, and illuminating that our lives are a cycle too. Each part of that cycle is vital to the whole, while being a unique part of the cycle in and of itself. Just as each person is vital to the community while being a unique individual in and of themselves.