We are coming to the end of the fall season, and in the Sacramento Valley we are feeling an early winter. After four years of severe drought we are getting rain and frost. Seeing damp streets with the breeze bouncing leaves up on our lawn, reminds me of an activity in Carol McClelland’s, The Seasons of Change: Using Nature’s Wisdom to Grow Through Life’s Inevitable Ups and Downs. She says:
"Take a walk and notice the season. What are some of the signs
of winter? Notice lingering traces of fall. The seasons are
a great reminder that things are always changing, growing,
My favorite evening activity is to walk outdoors and notice the season. I find the changing seasons are most interesting whether it is a cool breeze on my face contrasting with the warm sun on my back or the bright Christmas lights in contrast to the cold dark winter night.
The seasons remind us that change is normal but unexpected change or changes that come fast and furious can feel dark, unsettling, and confusing. McClelland calls the darkness the Winter Solstice where there is hope in the darkness. The work of a counselor or coach often intersects with a sense of darkness or confusion. Bringing light, hope, and clarity to the challenging times is like the natural movement from the darkness of winter to the bright resilience of spring.
Unexpected change can cut into plans and expectations like an axe into wood, but expected change can be more like a slow slice into fresh bread. Instead of feeling the clamor of separation, the slow slice is made easier if there is a plan for how to share the fresh bread. Is that too much analogy for you? Personally I could smell the fresh bread and feel the anticipation of what comes next. I’ve learned to be optimistic and find joy in expected change. I start feeling a little sad in September with the yearly expectation that our swims and weekly trips to the lake are ending, so I start planning winter trips like a train ride from Sacramento to Denver in the winter. Last year riding through the snowy mountains was a peaceful winter adventure. The colder days are perfect for contemplating and writing.
Enjoy the coming winter season. If you get stuck in the Winter Solstice, contact a counselor or coach to spring you back to life before you even turn your calendar to March.
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