Earlier this week I joined a dear friend in her garden for a glass of wine and conversation. We had not seen each other for a number of months and the reunion was filled with hungry questions, raucous laughter, and patient listening. The afternoon sun, although shining like thick lemon custard, quickly lost its power to warm. We shivered into our light jackets and commented on the change. At that moment the sky filled with shadows. Gazing upwards we saw a V-shaped flock of geese, honking in rhythmic synchronization, flying southwards. My friend smiled and sighed with contentment. “I love that sound,” she said. I was unsure if a response was needed, and to be honest wasn’t sure how I felt.
Part of me loves the way nature responds in a predictable order…the night turns into day, a seed turns into a plant, and fall turns into winter. Yet another part of me has lived long enough to know which phases of nature fill me with delight, and which fill me with dread. Winter, with all its drama and dazzle, fills me with dread. I know this and continue to stay. Should I follow the wisdom of the birds leaving the harsh realities of a Minnesota winter, or should I accept that change always brings a bit of uncertainty and allow the flow? Should I better appreciate the balance of light and dark, cold and heat, birth and death, instead of greedily seeking only the parts I enjoy? Would I delight in an endless summer? Probably not, as I would stop noticing the nuances of blooming flowers without a wintery contrast. As I get older I tinker with my preferences, and push to understand my reactions. Sitting with my friend and seeing her pleasure as the geese migrated reminded me to be thankful of changes big and small, and to be more accepting of nature’s wisdom. It was a good day.