Season your life for all seasons
Seasons of life
According to the latest (2014) statistics of World Health Organization (WHO), an Indian male has a life expectancy of 64 years and an Indian female that of 67 years, constituting 143rd and 150th rank respectively among the nations. The average life expectancy of an Indian is estimated at 65 years. Almost half of this time is spent on sleeping and other activities to repair the body and mind. The effective utilization of the rest of 32.5 years of time (ca.11863 days) determines the efficacy of one’s life on earth!
The four seasons are not evident in India as in the extreme northern or southern countries. However, if we carefully look into human nature, we could easily find the seasons of the planet reflected in human conditions. Some days are like in spring - full of freshness and serenity, others are like those in summer – beaming with exhausting activities and yet others like those in autumn/fall- full of agony and pain and still others are like those in winter deeply disconnected and lonely.
So are the ages of life. The early twenties compare well with the spring; up to fifties range the summer; till seventies spread the autumn and then onwards overwhelm the winter in life. Humans may plan and prepare to live all seasons of life squarely. To live up to the call of the seasons could be exciting too.
Hours of a day also may imbibe the seasonal tidings; mornings are like spring, noon compares with summer, evenings are like autumn and the nights like winter. We all may undergo various emotional seasons on a regular basis, irrespective of our age and regardless of the climatic seasons. There are times of light and warmth…there are times of life and growth… there are times of pangs and success… there are times of darkness and cold.
A creative mind masters the art of seasoning his/her life for all times and seasons. It is not sufficient to spread fragrance in the spring and to carry fruits in the autumn. Both shall happen in every season. Every season in life has its own character and signatures. Every season has its own inherent contradictions. Every season has its own meaning and significance. Every season has its own laws and principles of fecundity. These are derived out of life by living life in a seasoned manner. A true challenge!
Living the spring
As Robert Browning (1812-1889) puts it, spring is a season when all is right with the world.
“The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in his Heaven—
All’s right with the world!”
(“The year’s at the spring”, Robert Browning)
Everything is well-placed in the spring …. It awards you with a perfectly balanced life! Life is at its best in the spring. The body is in tune with the mind and viceversa. It is the time to flower! It is the time to spread the fragrance of life. We receive it as a blank cheque. We owe very much to life for the same.
However, living spring also could be equally challenging. Its beauty may intoxicate us. Its enchanting sounds may mesmerize to utter forgetfulness. We may forget to live and to share life! Many content with celebrating the spring of their life. They consider spring of their life as a time when they should play and enjoy life. It is a time of festivities. Celebrations surely enhance your being, your good self. It adds colors and enjoins flavors to it. Does it improve your creativeness and effectiveness? Difficult to judge! The spring may end up in futile flowers, not able to bear fruits and carry life forward. Being full of leaves or flowers is not the final intention of a tree. It needs to bear fruits for its own sustenance and propagation and for the benefits of all beings that depends on it.
Living the summer
William Shakespeare describes how one looks on a fine summer day in his characteristic style in the Sonnet 18:
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.”
Summer is seen here as a time of light and life, time of violent growth and development. So are the summer moments of life. Life full of life! However, one may get easily tired of life in its peak itself. The flowers begin to carry fruits. The burden of fruits you bear may burden you. The concerns of their future may bother you. These anxieties cast shadow on the richness of life in the summer. A creative mind shall imbibe the skill of managing the agonies of the summer. It shall be prepared to nurse the budding fruits and to care for the emerging initiatives. It may cost you much, but this perseverance is the cost of creativeness.
Living the autumn
Dante Gabriel Rossetti writes in his “Autumn Song” (1883):
“Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?
And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems—not to suffer pain?
Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?”
Autumn of life is characterized by the dualities of overwhelming fruits and depleting life. The harvested fruits announce the richness of life. The falling leaves announce imminent extinction of life. The wealth of colors could be a feast to the eyes. But in the close analysis it announces a phase change, a pass over. The dual significance of the falling leaves announces the true character of autumn. To live out life in an autumn requires sufficient knowledge and mastery of self.
Living the winter
In the Act II, Scene 7 of “As You Like It” (1600), William Shakespeare in his characteristic style describes the features of winter in comparison to human character. He writes:
“Blow, blow, thou winter wind.
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the
Most friendship is feigning, most
loving mere folly:
Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.
Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remember’d not.
Heigh-ho! sing, &c.”
In winter we could be extremely lonely. Nature retreats to its seasonal slumber. It enters a deep and regenerative meditation. Tranquility governs the world. It is a time of solitude and renewal from within. We experience it as we grieve at the death of our loved one or as we lose a competition or a bet, at our failures. It could be associated with a change of office or job. Or it may represent the barren times of your life, when you are just numb and frozen. We could transform winter moments into golden times of spiritual hibernation, spending quality time within the interior of self. It could be translated into the precious moments of encountering God, the be-all and end-all of your being. You may convert those moments into an occasion of intimate communion with nature, reconnecting yourself with everything else.
Season your life
No season of life shall be lived in vain. The simplicity and elegance with which the four seasons unfold in our lives is remarkable. Each of them has its own unique beauty and purpose. As Henry David Thoreau wrote: “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” This could be a fitting response to the changing seasons of our life.
To live according to the designs of the seasons, in fact, requires spiritual awakening. Every season carries unique blessings and curses along with it. It is part of a wider plan, which is often inaccessible to humans. Nature is highly skilled to tighten its strings according to the melodies of seasons. So shall the humans too. They shall not raise futile resistance against the changing seasons of life. They shall rather accommodate, bearing in mind that the seasons will pass over. Spring will open the doors of summer, summer gives way to autumn and autumn to winter and the whole cycle repeats itself. Just season your life for all seasons of life.