The cloudless, sunny skies of winter lend a crisp highlight to the washed out, barren colors of things slowly dying. However, the death is not eternal. Unlike the death we speak of when we think of the initial concept of death, this particular death is inevitable each year, and yet it is succeeded by life. One cannot think of winter without imagining the spring that will follow. One cannot assume that the dead tree on the hill top will never flower again.
I find this strange, but for reasons that are not obvious. It seems cliché to view the dead of winter as simply the season that precedes the subtle vitality of spring. In many ways, it is indeed cliché. However, what I find particularly strange is that, during summer, one does not think of summer as that which precedes death. It would seem, in human understanding, that life is not that which precedes death. Summer, as it is typically portrayed, is the suspension of death and a symbol of life. It is the cure, as if death were something to be subdued and negated.
What is obvious is that the seasons are a continuous cycle, contingent upon earth’s rotation around the sun. What is not obvious is the human essence we lend to the phenomena. If you place the seasons on the face of a clock, even in a scientific sense, it would be entirely appropriate. However, if you apply the seasons as a metaphor for the lifespan of a single human, it has limited effectiveness. Spring would surely represent birth and infancy, Summer could represent a life well lived, Autumn the later adult years, and finally Winter, a cold conclusion.
But humans don’t have a second spring. We don’t live a life that revolves in seasons. When our winters reach their peek, we never get to feel the frost melt away, nor have the promise of the rejuvenation of spring. We die and it is eternal. Why do I ruminate on such nonsense? I’m not sure, but I can’t help but wonder, how much of our physical world do we inject with our human essence? There is no humanity in the changing of the seasons, and yet there is such deep humanity in our understanding of the concept. What else are we making human?