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Spring v. Fall

Everyone wants to find metaphors in the seasons, to twist the passage of time to make meaning of life. The cycles of growth and decay, as applicable to the aspen’s leaves as our skin wrinkling with time. We are not aging and marching toward death, we are entering the autumn of our lives. And we do not want to accept that the cycle replenishes after winter with new life—not ours, but someone else’s entirely. The flower is not reborn next summer, the seeds which it birthed, and the rot of its petals conspire to feed the next generation.

Every year, I spend the early months hating the cold, pining for warmth, awaiting the sun. During the spring months, I try to prepare myself for summer, already fretting over how quickly it will pass. I wait with angst and anticipation for the joy and energy of the summer months. I am only passing through on my way to the highlight of the year. During the summer, I think constantly of the impending doom of fall and how it spells the end of adventures and light and happiness. I frantically try to hike all the things and do all the summer activities, filling every day to the brim until I am too run down and exhausted to even enjoy them. The first hint of fall floats in on a breeze and I become paralyzed. The year is over in my mind. Six months of darkness lie ahead with nothing to look forward to until May.


It’s a fucking metaphor, okay.

 

Spring v. Fall

by Christine Reed

To spring is to leap, to jump, to bounce

To spring forth with a newness, an innocence

The flower unfolds each petal

It turns its face up to the sun

The life giver, the source

It shows its color, its beauty

Without hesitation


The flower does not know of the cold that came before

It doesn’t know of the shortness of its own life

Each year, I have an opportunity to be new again

To spring forth as if I don’t know about the inevitable fall.


Find Christine on Instagram and TikTok @ruggedoutdoorswoman

Read her memoir Alone in Wonderland for a journey on the Wonderland Trail.


Previous Seasons of Life

by Belinda Arndt

The first breath of warmth in the air, I head straight to my closet. One by one, I pull winter clothes out of my closet, pausing for a moment, giving them the well-deserved gratitude for their service that winter.

The rest of my bedroom looks like a bomb went off where I’ve tossed pieces aside. I try on spring clothes, determining if each piece will stay or if it is time to move on.

Piles stack up: yes, no, maybe. As I move through the piles, memories flood back.

This olive A-line dress that came to my knees I wore on my first date in DC. This pair of black boots that don't have a sole anymore, because they were left on the streets. These fake leather pants that once fit me at 27 hoping one day, I could fit into them. This white shirt with tan polka dots from New York & Co I wore at my first job in DC, that I still can’t let go of.

I stand in the mirror with each memory. I realize that every big life event in my life has happened in spring. My big break in DC, my first love, and many career changes.

It’s not like I planned these changes purposely.

Just as I was determining which clothes to keep or let go of, spring had done the same thing in my life over the years.


A closure to previous season of life.


Belinda Arndt is a solo traveler and adventurer based outside of Washington DC. Her tagline is "It's always an adventure with me!" Catch her adventures on her website WanderingBel.com which aims to build a community of solo travelers to share their travel stories. You can find her on instagram @wandering_bel and Facebook at Wandering Bel Blog


Migration

by Meaghan Martin

I used to work on a quiet farm, where horses helped people heal. The sand arena was set back from the rest of the property, surrounded by trees that reached for the sky. Late in the summer, the early evening light would begin to filter through the branches at a steeper angle, golden sunshine pouring in between the trunks and illuminating the dust kicked up by the horses’ feet.


The first time I noticed the shift in the light, I also noticed a shift in myself. The catch in my breath signaled the finale of summer, the first leaning towards fall. I felt the dread of winter begin to wash over my body and sink in my stomach. There was a certain heaviness that accompanied dread, an impending ache; I knew that the upbeat mood of summer was fleeting. I haven’t been to that farm in years, but I remember the feeling distinctly.


I learned many years ago that my happiness is migratory, a songbird that comes in the spring and follows the sunshine south in the fall, leaving me longing for its joyous song through the dark, silent months. And over time, the harsh winters have felt harder, and harder, and harder for my fragile songbird heart to sustain.


When autumn comes, we gather in hordes to “peep” the foliage, flocks of people arriving from other parts of the country, trying to time their arrival for the peak glory of the leaves’ demise. A collective staring, as the leaves reach their most colorful moment; a swan song bursting forth in death, before the inevitable drifting to rest on the ground below. I wonder what it must be like to be perceived as your most beautiful in the height of your death.


This time around, my feelings about autumn are compounded, complicated. Just as the darkness is coming early, my love is leaving early, migrating, running from the cold and snow, with my joyful little songbird. But I don’t get to go with them. A change in the air brings a change in our collective energy. Hers, a bit panicked, a sense of urgency, of needing to rush, and pack up and go. Mine, a sadness, an aching for her that feels deeper in my center than what I’m used to. She can’t just be still with me, and all I want are some moments of quiet connection before she leaves. Moments of feeling wanted, cherished, cared for, to store away within myself; sustenance to carry me through the stark months ahead without her.


“Don’t get ahead of yourself,” I think, “winter’s not here yet,” but we all know that winter comes quickly on the heels of fall. And already I find myself wondering how long this season will last.


Meaghan is a backpacker and writer living in Maine with loved ones and pets. You can find her on Instagram and TikTok at @meaghan_adventures


Full Circle

by Sierra Eberly

Spring is a timebomb, where nothing lasts

Blink once, and the flowers are wilting

Blink twice there’s smoke in the air

Blink three times, and Jack Frost is nipping at your door


And yet it fills you with hopes and dreams

Rejuvenating you with the life it releases

Bringing air that smells sweet with success

Intoxicating, fueling ambition to follow your aspirations


Spring is proof of rebirth

Happiness exists after death and despair

What you thought was gone forever was only sleeping

And soon sprouts a flourishing sprig of new life


Spring is full circle, a means to an end

Life, death, and the dreams in between

Close your eyes, hurry up and wait

For the season of new beginnings


Sierra is a trail runner and backpacker who lives full-time in her campervan with her dog, Snow. She started her own copywriting business, Boondock Consulting, and when not working, she explores trails less traveled every chance she gets. You can find her on Instagram at @sierrastraverse and read her personal blog at www.sierrastraverse.com

 

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