Signs & Portents?

“Sunshine cannot bleach the snow, nor time unmake what poets know”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Snow flurries? On the 18th of October? Well, yes. And to be totally honest, not all that unusual in this area, either, but it just feels so very, very wrong. I found myself wondering if the ‘normal’ flurries were a sign of a ‘normal’ (read cold & snowy) winter ahead. Or if sometimes, mid-October flurries are just flurries. A few years ago we had a heavy snowfall in late October, when the leaves were still on the trees. This caused a tremendous amount of damage, but was also nearly the only snow we received that winter. So it’s hard to predict the winter from the weather in October. What is unfortunately true is that the very cold weather for the past few days, including overnight freezes, has accelerated the annual loss of leaves from the trees. And we barely reached peak colors. Oh, well…

Autumn is my favorite season in the Northeastern US because I enjoy the changes, and the instability, that are part of the package. Autumn is a metaphor for life, and all of its changeability. Many others compare the stages of life to each of the seasons in turn, but I never really see them that way – the lines of demarcation simply aren’t that clear. But in the colorful leaves, the clearer skies, and the colder weather, there are also the bursts of sunny warm weather interspersed throughout – and somehow, it’s always seemed to me that October can run through all of the seasons with dizzying speed.

But the first snow, and the tendency toward sleet in November, keep winter – easily my least favorite season – hovering around the edge of my conciseness. Where I don’t really want it to be. And yet, without winter, and snow, we would not have sufficient water for the summer, so even the snow is good. Just not yet.

We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.

— Zhuangzi

Photo of the Hudson River taken on 10/16/2015 at the Walkway Over the Hudson State Park


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