It does not astonish or make us angry that it takes a
whole year to bring into the house three great white
peonies and two pale blue iris. It seems altogether
right and appropriate that these glories are earned
with long patience and faith. . . . and also that it is
altogether right and appropriate that they cannot last.
Yet in our human relations we are outraged when
the supreme moments, the moments of flowering,
must be waited for. . . . and then cannot last. We
reach a summit, and then have to go down again.
* * * * * *
There is so very much that we can learn from the natural world. We are constantly surrounded by reminders of the cycles of life, the natural order of things, and if we can just recognize and appreciate the lessons of the natural world, our own lives could become so much easier and so much more comprehensible. We live our lives in seasons much as the flowers and the trees and the animals do, and one of the reasons for which we tend to become unhappy or frustrated is because we sometimes expect to live in perpetual spring or summer, not allowing or wanting winters to be a normal, important part of our lives.
One of the reasons that spring is so beautiful in the colder areas of the world is because the flowers are coming after a long period without them–we’ve been deprived of their presence for a long time, so they mean much more to us. We all know that for everything there is a season, but most of us would like to make those seasons longer, or to have some control over them.
But we have to let life be what it is. Life is a beautiful experience, yet we tend to diminish its beauty by placing our false expectations on it. One of my favorite art forms is that of ice sculpting, for the artists have a clear understanding of just how short-lived their works will be–yet they’re willing to put in hours of work to create beautiful works of art. It’s possible that some of the most beautiful sculptures ever made have melted into puddles of water, only seen by a limited number of people for a very short time.
Enjoy the great parts of life, but enjoy them in the right here and right now, which is truly the only time that we can experience anything at all. And when their time to leave comes, let them go with grace and dignity rather than trying to hold on to them in desperation or fear that you may never experience them again. You will, if you simply let life be life, and accept the seasons of our lives with love and trust that they will return.
* * * * * *
For further thought:
A garden that never died eventually would weary.
Robbed of springtime, unacquainted with the
extraordinary perfume that rises from the soil after
it’s had its rest, the garden that winter doesn’t visit
is a dull place. The return every spring of earth’s
first freshness would never be kept if not for the
frosts and rot and ripe deaths of fall. So when I go
out from the garden for the last time in autumn,
I leave the gate open behind me.