The confluence of seasons

There’s a crispness in the air now that the fall weather has started to settle in after a long summer. I’ve always enjoyed the confluence of seasons; it’s an awkward meeting between weather patterns – one anxious to begin its reign whilst the other tries in vain to retain its glory. There will be a few weeks of battle before the summer finally fades, giving way to the changing colours of the trees.

Note: This post was originally shared on my “widowhood” blog, “Frances 3.0: Still in Beta”.

As Frances 2.0 I was really looking forward to the fall. This year, I was looking forward to shopping for new school clothes and supplies for kids; to parent-teacher conferences; to school concerts; to trick-or-treating. As I look out the windows now, I can see excited children walking to school. They have their backpacks slung over one shoulder and they laugh and giggle as they kick at the fallen leaves.

There is this odd feeling that’s come over me now. I want to be excited about the changing seasons; I want to enjoy the faint smell of morning dew on the ground and the smell of apples from the orchard down the hill. I want to look forward to Halloween and Thanksgiving, and I want to think excitedly about cosy fires and evenings sipping hot toddies snuggled on the couch. But I can’t fully enjoy those things when there’s no one to share them with. My moments of excitement are overshadowed by my realisation that this fall won’t be the fun and carefree fall of last year, or the one I’d hoped to enjoy this year.

I find myself watching as the birds begin their migratory formations and noting the changes in the fields as the farmers harvest their crops. I’m aware of all of the seasonal changes happening around me, and aware that I should be excited about it all. I’m not sad, I just don’t care. I’ve become apathetic to the natural beauty around me, and I don’t know what to think about that. For the first time in my life, I am dreading the snow that will be falling in two months. I don’t want to spend a winter alone in a house where I will surely be snowbound on and off throughout the season’s blizzards and snowdrifts.

I think the hardest thing for me to understand with this is that I’m not upset. If I were sad and outwardly emotional over the changing season I think it would be easier. At least then I could pinpoint my feelings. But instead, I just feel numb. And I worry that it may mean there are pent-up emotions to come and that they will hit me when I least expect them. I’m sure it’s tied in with the upcoming holidays – from the moment people start putting out Halloween decorations until winter is nearly over, there are going to be a lot of holiday firsts for me. And those firsts may be the catapult for my hidden emotions. And maybe that’s why I can’t be excited about the autumnal colours.

I hope that there is a software upgrade soon because I can’t imagine feeling so miserable or indifferent when the first signs of spring show up and the tulips and daffodils begin to bloom. In the meantime, I’m trying as best as I can to prepare for a long, hard, cold winter. One thing about winters in the Pacific Northwest is that no matter how much snow piles up on the ground, you can always expect lots of blue skies and sunshine in between blizzards and freezing fog storms. I’m sure that my mood will find those precious breaks from the bleakness, too.

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