Saturday, October 6, 2012


My neighbor's russet tree, from my back porch,
Sylvania, Ohio, October 2012
Russet leaves, red, orange and yellow
fall from wind-blown trees --
Autumn breathes a mournful sigh.

Days shorten, trees change, colors brighten as if
Nature anticipates the dying of the light,
the coming of winter darkness and early night.

I learned to love the changing seasons again when I lived in Ukraine. The haikus above were written during an English Club meeting at the Starobelsk Public Library one fall (must have been 2010), during a discussion on the topic “To Everything There Is a Season.”  I miss the English Club! 

The seasonal changes in Ukraine are just like those in Ohio, where I raised my kids and have returned; just like in Rochester where I grew up; or in colorful New England where I have family and went to college. Washington, DC has four seasons, too, and Fall is one of the most beautiful.  I love walking in Rock Creek Park and through northwest Washington neighborhoods at this time of year. Golden!    

The seasons in Ukraine were unlike Florida, however, where I lived for 10 years before joining the Peace Corps. It made the contrast starker. Not that Florida doesn’t have its version of seasons, but the changes are more subtle, like the ripening of the mangos or the falling seeds of the Live Oaks that cover cars in green ash. Of course the weather is mostly warm all year round, especially in winter.   

The changing seasons bring nature’s diversity to our lives.  Here in Ohio, from Cincinnati in the south to Sylvania in the north, we’ve come into Fall. Clear sunny days, crisp nights. The moon is bright. The days are short. All nature is color saturated. Four distinct seasons, each with its own beauty. 

Like the seasons of our lives.

Soon the flowers will be gone. The colors will fade. The trees will be bare. We’ll see life through diverse shades of brown branches awaiting their first dusting of snow.  It’s all good, when you embrace the four seasons.    
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