Observing the seasons

We live by the Trondheim fjord, and just a few meters from our place, there is a long path of about 10 kilometers with varied natural landscape. We’ve been living close to this path for fifteen years now.

Throughout the years, I have learned to be more observant of the changes that each season brings. Spring probably being one of my favourite. I can notice the changes almost from day to day. From hearing the song of the robin and the blackbird, to the first sprouts on the trees and the ground. It first goes relatively slowly and all of a sudden, with some days of stable sunny weather, it is like an explosion of shapes, light, colour and sound.

It is with the same awe but also a pinch of sadness that I observe the end of the Summer and the start of the Fall, and the same way as Spring just explodes in front of our eyes, the wonderful warm colours of the Fall suddenly invade the landscape. Before we know it, the first snowfall comes, and the long Winter starts.

With the changes in temperature and weather come also the changes in daylight. I think this change is the one that has the most impact in the rhythm of my family’s everyday life. Every year, it takes us some weeks to adapt and find a new routine.

During the darkest months, from November to the end of January, we spend a lot of time indoors. During the weekends, we allow ourselves to sleep in, and spend our evenings watching movies or playing board games. In February, days start getting longer, and we suddenly discover that the sun is out while we are still in our pyjamas so we make the conscious change in routine of getting up earlier during the weekend and get out of the house for a skiing trip or at least a walk in the sun.

During the summer, which can be quite short here in Trondheim, as soon as we get some days of sun and hot weather, we are out the whole day, maybe even part of the night as the sun goes down only for a few hours. Its the summer holiday so we can allow ourselves and our kids to sleep less, or har slightly messier sleeping routines, just to be able to enjoy the nice weather.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about this cycle, and how, the changes in the weather and daylight influence our lives, and most of the time, we just make the necessary adjustments without much resistance. When it snows, I check the online skiing map and I plan for a skiing trip. When the snow melts, we put on our hiking shoes and go for a hike in the forest or by the fjord. If it’s raining, we take our rain clothes, if it’s hot and sunny, we put on a hat… Sometimes, I go out with my winter coat to discover that it is about time to change it for the thinner one, and I just make that change next time I go out.

This adaptability and flexibility we need to show with the change of seasons, and the trial and failing that we also experience, are good lessons for life otherwise. Life is full of changes. The most certain one is ageing. When our kids are born, they have certain needs, and as they grow up, these needs change, and we have to adapt our parenting to better meet these needs. As they grow older, we start giving them the tools to meet their own needs instead of catering all the time for them. But, just like with the seasons, it the changes require that we sometimes stop and observe what is going on. Ask ourselves what are we doing and why are we doing it that way. Consider a change of course, or just a change of attitude.

One thing that I keep reminding myself about is not to panic when I notice that a habit or routine is not working, or when one of my kids is struggling. I’ve noticed that unconsciously, my mind goes to what I like to call the ‘that’s it’ modus. It all seems hopeless and lost, but as my grandmother used to say “everything has a solution except from death”. As long as we are alive, we are always capable of changing and adapting to create a harmonious life for ourselves and our loved ones. We can make it as easy as putting on our rain pants by avoiding mental and emotional resistance and trying to just flow with it. Sometimes we also have to accept that our kids go through tough periods and all we can do is be present, give them love, understanding and compassion, and allow them to find their way.

Although the changes we experience in our lives seem linear as opposed to the changes of season that are cyclic, we can also see our lives as cycles. Changes might sometimes bring a period of confusion, of chaos, of instability, but with work, we find a certain balance and stability until a new change comes.

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