Friday, September 13, 2013

Arboretum Reflections

In celebration of cooler temperatures and bright sunny skies, I decided to take a photo safari to our local arboretum.  Of course the nice weather encouraged others to enjoy the outdoors as well, so it was a bit more crowded than I anticipated. I only stayed for about an hour, but in that time I was able to take a few pictures and reflect on this time of year.... and life.

This week one of my students reminded me of the prologue to Tuck Everlasting - an exquisite passage of literature for me, although not necessarily a favorite of the student.  Natalie Babbitt sets the scene by describing a summertime heat spell:
The first weeks of August hang at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.
When I taught the book to seventh graders, we discussed this simile at length:  if seasons of the year are compared to a ferris wheel, it is then logical that the hottest part of the year would be at the top before it "falls" into autumn.

This also corresponds to a lesson I teach in my British Literature class.  Currently we are discussing symbolism in literature and how each season often has an archetypical meaning:  spring symbolizes rebirth; fall symbolizes old age.  We all found this a bit incredulous, however, because when we think of fall we imagine vibrant colors, delicious hot drinks, and warm comfortable clothing.  We don't think of old age and dying.

But if we look closely at nature we discover that this is indeed a seasonal affect.  And while I recognize that my age indicates I am "over the hill" ... I prefer to think that I am in the autumn of life.

I might be losing a few petals....
or be a bit withered around the edges...
But I still have purpose in life...
and I welcome special friends

1 comment:

  1. Winter feels more like death to me, but even it is not. The world is merely resting, regaining its energy. And I like to think of our autumnal years as being the prime of life, when we have so many glorious thoughts and experiences to share. The vibrant jewel tones certainly bear this out.