Riva Capellari

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Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City

Seasonal Life

It is the beginning of spring now. The older I get, the more I am aware on multifarious levels of these seasonal changes. Born and raised in Michigan, these annual metamorphoses were very much intertwined with my daily life. It wasn’t until I moved to California for 3 years that I sensed how infected I was with nature’s ongoing, yearly conversions. I think that is why I eventually ended up back in the mid-west. I wanted to experience seasons again, as an integral part of how I lived.

In keeping with my theme, I began to ruminate upon how my personal kinship to nature’s cycle relates specifically to trees. They show the seasons outright. Leaves that turn glorious color and then drop in the fall leaving a minimalist silhouette for their winter landscape. Spring buds that grow into leafy green foliage. My life is enriched with this amazing palate of colors and hues, of structures that create crystalline portraits, and canopies that provide such welcome shade in the heat of summer.

While some wax poetic about the “seasons” of life aligning with the seasons of nature, I tend to roll with them through their perennial transitions. I don’t meditate on spring as youth. I indulge in its welcoming sun and longer days, in getting my hands in dirt planting my garden. The annual washing and putting away of winter garb, the pulling out of cottons and linens, always surprised at what I find. The different fabrics and colors that spring and warmer weather necessitates. The altered timeline of the days.

Summer becomes imbued with expansion. More sun, more hours in the day, longer stretches of time without rain. Luckily I live in an old neighborhood loaded with big, old trees, so I can easily walk the streets, almost always in shade. The heat can slow one down, making basking on my front porch with an iced drink not only acceptable but manditory. Reading outside in the evening, when finally outdoor life becomes breathable, offers me wonderful cooling moments of watching the day end, from dusk to night, from sun to stars.

Fall brings relief not only from those torrid temperatures, but the prolonged days. The extended light during summer can be tiring, nudging me into continuous activity until late in the day when I might just want to sit and reflect without guilt of wasting daylight. Having lived much of my life as a student and then a teacher, summer’s end still faintly conjures up the expiration of summer vacation, the beginning of school. My wardrobe transforms with the leaves and I prepare my house and myself for the oncoming autumn. Actually, fall is probably my favorite season. In addition to the cooler temps and shorter days, there is a comfort in knowing that after all the activity of the past year, a more meditative time approaches where indoor living takes center stage and my calendar begins to harbor fewer obligations. Strangely much of my youth memory bank is full of fall remembrances. Cider and apples and socks and sweaters, past Halloweens, family Thanksgivings. I find this time of year invigorating after a hot summer.

I have written past particles on my “wintering” so I will not add that season here. Although our western calendar ends the year in December, our long ago ancestors had an “other” experience of time. They were much more atuned to nature’s defining timetable and how human life fits into it.

Trees. They remind us of what season we are in. Their natural instincts and memories lead and instruct their seasonal lives and we follow.

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