Iowa Writes

XINGZHI MARA CHEN
Seasons


Time flies by or sneaks away fast as we often observe earnestly and sigh helplessly. We have concocted the concept and notion of time and ever since lived and struggled in its unstretchable dimension. The comforting side of time's fleeting nature is its seasonality and our freedom of enjoying the seasons. We often huddle with our selected inner and outer fibers and hunker down inside our shelters, homes or otherwise, in brutal winter. We love and marvel at the awakening murmur and glorious birth of spring. We are enchanted by the dazzling blooms and lush growth in summer. We are always and forever in debt for the fruitful endowment of autumn. Seasons can describe and prescribe things and situations beyond our plans and prescience, and there always seems to be a season for everything in life.

Time flies by or sneaks away fast as we often observe earnestly and sigh helplessly. We have concocted the concept and notion of time and ever since lived and struggled in its unstretchable dimension. The comforting side of time's fleeting nature is its seasonality and our freedom of enjoying the seasons. We often huddle with our selected inner and outer fibers and hunker down inside our shelters, homes or otherwise, in brutal winter. We love and marvel at the awakening murmur and glorious birth of spring. We are enchanted by the dazzling blooms and lush growth in summer. We are always and forever in debt for the fruitful endowment of autumn. Seasons can describe and prescribe things and situations beyond our plans and prescience, and there always seems to be a season for everything in life.

Winter comes in many forms and kinds. The more authentic the winter, the harsher conditions it presents. The precipitous drop of temperature and smothering blanket of wet snow bring out the lethal potency of natural cold elements. The sun's rays that arrive at the earth surface in winter can be too little, too late, and often far in between. Water loses its softness and warmth and becomes icy and frigid. The serene air often transforms into a sharp hollering wind that whips all things around along its path, from mighty trees to solid earth to loose sand grains. The supple and tolerant earth in the high altitude and latitude turns into impenetrable shell, indifferent and infertile. Anything tender and unsure gets bruised or buried or frozen to death, and only the seasoned perennials or sheltered creatures survive conditionally, for a few more days or hours or even minutes at times, to the end, survival is uncertain. Winter kills many unprepared creatures untimely, yet many others aspire to live against all odds. Not all creatures buried-alive become dead, and many seemly-dying creatures slow their heartbeat and stretch their breath far beyond allotted time limits. The seeds of life wait patiently for the turn of the seasons.

Spring comes when the earth finally completes its forward leaning toward the warm sun, the energy of our universe. The warm embrace gives an awakening call for redemption and forgiveness. The spring showers rejuvenate our Mother Earth, and gentle breezes carry her soft calls for rebirth and renewal. The dying creatures and fading spirits come back to life, and the buried seeds start germinating. The growing energy radiates outward to stimulate lives in all spheres of earth: soil, water, and air. Plants sprout up from dirt; leaves bud out from sleepy branches; birds and butterflies fly through the air; fish and frogs jump in and out of the water. All creatures are entitled to live and grow, regardless its good or bad (benevolent or malevolent) to us human beings. Every creature is welcome to the come-out-of-shelter or crawl-out-of-hole open-sky party. Weeds take roots and beetles camp out in flower gardens; insects fly with birds or ride with cats and cows; wild animals play hide and seek with people. The world seems to have a giant spring harmony concert under the sun and the moon.

Spring grows, expands, and extends into summer, blurring the seasonal boundary. The hot summer sunrays beam through the atmosphere, kissing everything along their paths. We witness how things grow beautifully swell, including our thinking. The sun's energy stirs the passion of the world. Flowers bloom; animals multiply; many people wed in summer, the most passionate session. Everything becomes robust and lush. We fall in love with the energy and the exuberance the universe offers. The world is often a sunny place, and we actually enjoy some patches of clouds, welcome timely rains, and even rarely mind occasional thunderstorms. We marvel at the speed that many creatures mature and the intensity that things connect and interact in the long days. We even camp out to listen the murmur and secret chats in the woods among other critters in the short summer night and even blend their talks into our summer dreams. Summer seems never fail to cheer us up, entice us out of our shelters, and tantalize our hearts beyond our heads. We don't have summer blues and prefer to have summer burns. As we spend more hours outdoors examining the appearance of the external world, we only start to notice the transitory nature of summer season. It is not forever, and to the end, we don't mind of the approaching whistle of autumn winds. We wonder what would be the cooling effect to our internal world and what the fall will bring.

The fall brings about many fundamental changes. We have warm reflections upon the mesmerizing memories we have had in carefree spring and exciting summer. We count our blessings as we face our anticipation of the tentative future. We thank our ancestors for demonstrating their wisdom and their will in surviving man's first harsh winter. We appreciate the nature for bestowing us the intuition to prepare for the successive ones. We gain new perspectives on life experiences and enjoy nature's parallel changes — autumn foliage sceneries. We witness the natural forces that remove the crowns of giant trees, making associated leaves or needles fall off their rightful places. We are not particularly afraid to see our appearances and surroundings out of original colors and out of accustomed orders. Instead, we take fall season as a special time to meditate, muse, and wonder. We reap the harvest from our labors of love, reaffirm our purposes of life, and fortify our belief in future promises.

Seasons always renew and recycle, and so does everything else. Life is a journey along which we travel through four different seasons in both our external and internal worlds. The hopes and desires of life rise from harsh winter, sprout in spring, thrive through summer, and ripen in fall. We coined time, and seasons have been a reliable lifelong bank to treasure our time. Seasons remind us of the gifts, the debts, the balances, the values, and the changes. We balance our wealth and debts, happiness and sorrow, birth and death, wisdom and ignorance, excitement and frustration, mellifluous and cacophony, a sense of fulfillment and the sense of disappointment through seasons.

Our world forever changes with seasons. We can always bank on our seasoned wisdom to use our bestowed time in treasuring our life experiences. Through different seasons, we can always see the silver linings embedded in passing clouds that often hover over our world in tough times. Still, sunshine shall beam through in another day of every season.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


XINGZHI MARA CHEN

Xingzhi M. Chen earned her PhD in geology from the University of Iowa. Currently,
she is a professor at Salisbury University in Maryland. She considers Iowa City her
hometown in the U.S.

This page was first displayed
on February 24, 2012

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