Saturday, 16 October, 2021
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With the Wind

Seasonal Uptakes

Tulip Chowdhury

Seasonal Uptakes
Tulip Chowdhury

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As the night deepens around my home, I listen to the tree frogs and crickets voicing their nightly songs and wonder when they will retire for the winter. I sense impatience in the sounds of the night creatures as if they are on the last train of the summer. Located in New England, I see leaves turning yellow and orange, the morning and nights are mildly cold, and the geese have started migrating with loud honks. We may not always be verbal on our seasonal transitions, but changes depending on the station of our lives add to speed or slow us down.

In the western world, fall and foliage are getting ready to be on the stage. Around our house, the greenery is giving yellow, and gusts of wind bring leaves down. There is a hint of sadness in the withering leaves, and perhaps the trees sigh and complain to the wind. Trees are living things, and the sorrow in losing a part of the summer life could be possible when thinking on the human trend of thoughts. Who knows? Maybe the flowers, fruits, leaves, plants big and small that come up every summer are happy to be there that season and feel no regret at leaving. The language of the trees, fruits, and flowers is a secret we keep seeking to understand. While we enjoy the bounty of nature, it is a blessing that seasonal changes bring our spiritual food and food for the body. In the silent giving of the universe, the message is to share the bounties in of the passing hours.

The changes around us affect our inner being in many ways. A summer exiting the stage carries good memories: a violet, a rose, larks singing, or a trip to the beach. When fall air starts breathing through the trees and the leaves come down, every leaf seems to carry a sigh and a smile—the happy notes for gladness in having lived, the sadness of having to go. If we live in the colder regions of the globe, fall calls for gearing up for the coolness in the air, the preparations for winter and snow. As leaves come down, the trees bare their souls. They seem to embrace the cold with their exposed branches. If we are lucky to get the coats and boots, the tree friends have their ways to get in pace with the winter. Nature and its coping mechanisms are mysteries to the naked eyes. The bare trees, the blue jay with a nest in the tree, or the skunk that made a burrow beside the tree: how do they survive the winter while humans have fires to warm the houses and coats to protect the bodies? And, of course, the warmth of love and food that forever seem to be insufficient to fill the cold days. Love is one medicine that we can be safe without an over-doze.

There are endless ways in how changes occur with the seasons that meet the eyes. Spring is supposed to be the season of the Cupid, a season that brings beauty and love. The heart seems to feel the warmth of the spring breeze deeper than the rest of the body when love blossoms. The cabin fever that grips us on cold winter days allows laughter and joy with the advent of spring. The connection of the self and weather is beautifully traced in the poem by Pablo Neruda in If You Forget Me:

 “If I look / at the crystal moon, at the red branch / of the slow autumn at my window, / if I touch

near the fire / the impalpable ash / or the wrinkled body of the log,/ everything carries me to you.”

We tend to feel depressed in winter and gloomy on rainy days. The cloudy sky and the rain bring gloom and weariness to the body. The underlying reason may be the absence of the sun. Sunlight has proven to lighten or dampen our moods. When someone is feeling low, nature’s way is to sit in the sun for half an hour, and magically the body responds to uplift the spirit. Robert Burns, in his poem, ‘A Red, Red Rose’ writes,

“O my Luve is like a red, red rose / That’s newly sprung in June / O my Luve is like the melody / That’s sweetly played in tune.”

The emotions unfold at the sight of the rose in June, the month of the colourful tapestry. Rabindranath Thakur has volumes of songs dedicated to nature, and many of them reflect the relationship between man and nature. His song, “Kanna hashir dol dolano poush faguner pala / tari moddhe chiro jeebon boibo ganer dala..” seems to sum it all. In these lines, the bard speaks of how tears and laughter are blended through times of spring or winter.

We sail on the waves of sorrow and joy. Be it fall, winter, spring, or summer; living things make seasonal adjustments. Though the humans pride themselves in being superior beings and create ways to protect and enjoy the seasons, there remain mysteries on how the other creatures make it through rain, wind, sun, and snow. A little bird that I see in the backyard of our Amherst home is like a window to the unknown lives of other living things. The preparation of the robin to build its spring nest in a hole of the deck is a sure sign that they plan and hope for the spring to come. They, too, wait for the mate to share the nest and raise the chicks. Hope is the magic that we share with other living things, in sound or silence.

 

Tulip Chowdhury writes from Massachusetts, USA