The Voice of Experience: Taking a closer look at the seasons of our life

Web Lead

Christine Munkerud is a longtime Creston volunteer and writer.

Christine Munkerud is a longtime Creston volunteer and writer.

Autumn has been described as “the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. This year, we have indeed enjoyed a season of mellow fruitfulness, golden sunshine and an array of autumn splendour still gaining in intensity and colour.

By the time autumn arrives, Nature’s main purpose has been almost fulfilled for this year. She seems to give a huge sigh of relief as the colours intensify through the warm days and cool nights, animals begin donning their warm coats and the birds prepare for their long holiday in a warmer climate. Nature has put on her best show and is preparing for her winter rest.

The Earth, recognizing the signs of this change of command, prepares to usher in the next season’s leader. Winter seems more powerful, and he sometimes seems to be harsh in his effort to create the balance between the seasons.

So it is with our lives. As children, we are nurtured and learn how to survive and thrive in our world. The first few years we learn how to move our limbs, how to react to what is going on and how to understand it all, and find out how we fit into the scheme of this world. These formative years of nurturing and learning are vital to the rest of our lives. It is crucial that we understand our potential in relation to others and realize our immense capabilities as part of humanity.

As teenagers we discover our range of possibilities, our boundaries, our strengths and weaknesses, as we strive to find the balance between exploring who we are and how we can express ourselves positively and meaningfully. Some have difficulty finding their strengths and accepting the boundaries and choose either to adapt or rebel. Choosing to rebel against boundaries is often not the easiest or wisest path to take; it can be painful and injurious to our lives.

This is the spring of life and is an important balancing act shaping how we form and the kind of life we shall live. Sometimes the paths we take are not in balance and we struggle until we understand our mistakes and hopefully rectify them before they become too deeply engrained.

From our mid-twenties, we are beginning to stabilize as summer comes. We have by now more or less established our course in life and we branch out through education and experience, and begin to mature, marrying and starting a family of our own. If we have developed a creative balance, then we can handle the storms, the bumps, with grace and comparative ease.

As autumn arrives, we take on a glow, the rewards from a life of giving, sharing and exploring. We see our life with a deep sense of gratitude as we watch our own children begin to branch out, learning how to balance in their own unique way. Nature slows down and birds prepare for their long flights. The colours fade and leaves fall to become the comforters and blankets for the next generation, the next season. We recognize our role as the Advisors and Helpers to maintain the balance, between expression of who we are and how we must all work together to create a productive and nurturing community.

As winter arrives, with its masculine strength, we learn to weather the storms, and recognize our place in the background now, the balanced foundation for the new lives, the new world as it unfolds. We maintain our strength and knowledge to aid the new generation in remembering the underlying and balancing power of respect and unconditional love for all life. Then our cycle is complete. We can rest in peace.

Christine Munkerud is a longtime Creston Valley volunteer. The Voice of Experience is a column co-ordinated by the Therapeutic Activity Program for Seniors.