CHANGE IS THE only guarantee, stability is but a fleeting illusion. Few things illustrate this more clearly then the annual winter-spring-winter-spring seesaw that takes place here in Colorado’s Front Range foothills.
Last week, temperatures soared. The sun shone with soul-caressing warmth. I strode across hills and open space watching the land emerge from its covering of snow. Watercourses ran with increasing volume, flushing away winter. Mule deer migrated to sunny south-facing slopes, escaping the cold blue northern hillsides. The repeating trill of newly-arrived red-winged blackbirds filled the air with spring-like optimism. Shirt off, I basked contentedly on a basalt slab, appreciating the ease of the moment with quiet elation – elation made all the greater by knowing it wouldn’t last.
Just five days earlier, temperatures had been notably different: almost eighty degrees Fahrenheit colder. Dawn had arrived at -7°F, -17°C: a penetrating reality to step into that even people utterly detached from nature couldn’t completely ignore. During my daily outing I travelled briskly, feeling the air hard and sharp against my face, fighting for dexterity in my fingers after the questionable wisdom of winter photography. There was little basking on basalt slabs. But there was still elation, and once again it was made greater by knowing that conditions wouldn’t last.
I think about change a fair amount. I find it hard not to. I dwell on the knowledge that nothing lasts, that change is inevitable, that what I have now won’t be had forever. It may sound negative, but it’s not. It leads to immense appreciation. It leads to focusing on what I have when I have it. And it leads to excitement for everything still to come, although not to any expectations about what will come. What does the future hold in store? No one knows. For me, there is only hope and possibility.
Plunging cold and rising warmth; bright sunshine and glowering cloud; dry air and falling snow; gentle stillness and raging storm: the winter-spring-winter-spring seesaw keeps on tilting, a reminder that life itself offers endless seesawing cycles of storm and sunshine, turmoil and peace. Storms are inevitable, but they can strengthen us if we let them, difficult though this can often be.
As I write this, I’m conscious of everything that’s going on in the world. But I’m also thinking about yesterday’s sparkling wonderland of freshly-deposited snow, today’s bright thaw, and tomorrow’s forecast for yet more snow and cold. It is clear to me: there are so many things that I can’t control, and yet there are profoundly important things that I can: my own reaction being one of them. I can make the world a better place through every single encounter, and I can step outside into nature every single day to find solace, perspective and an all-encompassing beauty that can’t be measured or quantified.
The photos from the last two weeks that accompany this blog hint at the seesawing drama of unstoppable change. They remind me to appreciate each fleeting moment; to accept and continue to embrace change.
This day – today – is a one off. It won’t come again. Whatever else is going on, nature awaits…