Saturday, November 21, 2015

Terminal Flowers

The "terminal" wild flowers on my hill from late yesterday afternoon.  Photo by J. Berta. 

Greetings All:

"Everything has its season
Everything has its time
Show me a reason and I'll soon show you a rhyme
Cats fit on the windowsill
Children fit in the snow..."

The above lyrics are from the song, "Corner of the Sky" from the musical, Pippin.  As I write this, snow is still falling, albeit gently.  While the calendar reports there is a month left of fall, "Iowa winter" has arrived.  (It's my unofficial way of tracking the start of winter, even though we'll likely still have some nice days before the winter solstice.)

We got the news earlier this week that the snow was coming.  I performed the annual obligatory ritual of preparing the snowblower, or "snow thrower" as it is now called, for the expected onslaught of overnight snow.  To-wit, please see Exhibit A:

My snowblower, ready for the winter "fun."  Photo by J. Berta

As of this...typing, I doubt there is enough snow to justify even firing this thing up today.  I probably will, just the same.  After all, how can you turn down the opportunity to fire up something with a motor.

One bit of fall is still with us and that is football, college football to be precise.  My beloved Iowa Hawkeyes are facing off against the Boilermakers of Purdue.  It's going to be a game played in the snow.  Something tells me there it will be a LOT of fun for those on the field...and those in the stands.  Every game day my neighbors and I put out our Iowa flag.  I've never seen it against this weather background:

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 Regardless of the amount of snow, it's clearly snow and it means that what is left of the wild flowers are gone.  The opening photo was taken last evening as the sun was setting.  I was furiously finishing the lawn, the last of the leaves, if you will.  I snapped this photo knowing that these flowers would likely not see another sunrise.

Sad?  I suppose.  Yet such is life, the passing of the seasons.  Flowers die, as do all living things.  Their death does not diminish their beauty.  Perhaps it is their terminal nature that makes their beauty all that more special.

We here in the Midwest face winter every year with a resigned determination.  It is a period of inconvenience, of getting up earlier to clean off cars, to search for that (expletive-deleted) missing glove, to clinch our teeth and squint our gaze in the face of frozen gusts.  Yet we know this will pass.

Then there are those among us for whom winter is a time of joy.  Kids, particularly.  I first heard the song I quoted over thirty years ago.  I think it says with me because of this line:  

 "...children fit in the snow..." 

My daughter in the snow.  Photo by J. Berta

That is a completely accurate statement!

So mourn not the terminal flowers.  They had their time, their moment (literally) in the sun.  They shall return, with the spring sun and soft rain.  We will greet them like the old, dear friends they are.

In the meantime, let's embrace winter however we choose, with whatever level of stoic reflection available to us.  So long as we're sincere, it's OK to not be grinning from ear to ear under our scarfs.

I found this quote from Henry Rollins that I think is just super.  Here it is:

"I have come to regard November as the older, harder man's October. I appreciate the early darkness and cooler temperatures. It puts my mind in a different place than October. It is a month for a quieter, slightly more subdued celebration of summer's death as winter tightens its grip."

Yes, Henry, summer has passed on.  Yet it shall return.  In the meantime, I'll go fill the bird feeders, maybe even sled down the hill.  Oh, and yes, there is the snow on sidewalk to be dealt with.  

Everything does have its season, and its time.

The time for wild flowers is past. 
The time for snow is here.
So long as I am near those I love,
Let the season be whatever it needs to be.

Be well my friends,


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