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?
When we’re lost without purpose, days seem to go by without seams. There is nothing separating one purposeless day from the next. It’s the common theme of the search that makes it so hard to create a division. In a sense, the search for purpose can be said as our purpose, but I don’t think I need to explain that the search for purpose is not actually a purpose. How could the search for something be the thing. It doesn’t make any sense, but still we search and still we feel occupied by this “purpose”. That is when the trouble begins; when we realize that our search is not fulfilling.
If I were to be fatalistic, I would say that there is no purpose to be found, but that’s not entirely true. It’s simply the manner of acquiring purpose that has caused such distress. Purpose is not to be found, but to be created. I’m no scholar of consciousness, but I do understand that I must indeed separate my consciousness from physical reality, in order to create something new. If all I ever do is use my consciousness as a tool to interact with my waking world, I will never be able to imagine anything that doesn’t already exist here.
If all we ever do is use our consciousness to reference a tree, it will forever remain a tree. There is no purpose in a tree, besides the trees own purpose. But I’m not in the business of creating oxygen and providing habitats for small animals. I want my own purpose. What we must do is use our consciousness to separate ourselves from the physical reality of the tree, in order to imagine what the tree might become. Perhaps, the tree will shake suddenly, the earth will fracture and cracked, wooden legs will burst forth from the explosion of soil and the tree will simply walk away. It’s an entertaining fantasy, but now we have a tree wandering as aimlessly as we do during these days without purpose.
What if I imagined the tree as a pile of wooden logs nested next to a home, ready to stoke the hearth and hearts of the occupants? It is winter, so it would seem a good idea to have firewood ready. This is a slight glimpse of the ever evasive concept of purpose. There is none to be given, but an infinite amount to be created. However, there is a fatal mistake to be made here; that would be assuming that one’s own purpose is now to cut down the tree, saw it into stumps, split them into logs, and stack them against the home. This is not your purpose, if you are the one to take on this task. This is the task.
The purpose would be warming the home so that the beauty of the human spirit may sit comfortably around a fire and commune with other souls seeking warmth. It’s dangerous to assume one is an automaton and that tasks are the same as purpose. We are humans, not machines. Our purpose is never so shallow and we will not find it floating among the falling leaves. Our purpose is communal and poetic; we are greater than the sum of our whole.