The Dying Time of Year

800px-Laub_TreppenWinter is coming. I’ve blogged before about how that season makes me think of death. No, not in a depressed way. I’m watching the world slowly spin down into the quiet blankness of a three-month stretch in which nothing grows and taking note of all of the small changes around me.

It’s hard to imagine the world ever being warm and green again when you’re in the middle of a snowstorm. Every other season includes hints of what is to come. This past summer we wavered between heat waves and days that felt like they were originally meant to happen in late spring or early autumn. They were cool and crisp and contained none of the humidity one would expect in July or August. These sorts of temperature fluctuations don’t usually happen in February.

September is the beginning of the dying time of year. The leaves are just beginning to change colours here in Toronto, and I had to dig out my fall jacket a few weeks ago. After an unseasonably hot spring and a warm, gorgeous summer it felt weird to wear an extra layer of clothing again.

Bruce Gerenscer’s latest post about his steadily declining health made me think of all of the people I know who are living with serious medical conditions. As a healthy young adult I rarely know what to say to loved ones whose diagnoses have blown up the paths they so carefully plotted out for their lives. Words only stretch so far in these situations, and I’d much rather have an awkward silence than say something hurtful. I wish I could give them some of my strength and high tolerance for pain. It isn’t fair for them to carry those burdens alone.

This particular autumn also gives me hope. In a few months someone will be joining my extended family. It’s honestly kind of bizarre to look forward to meeting someone you’ve never met and know nothing about. Everything about her is a mystery other than the fact that she’s on her way.

A few weeks ago a reader found my blog by searching for this phrase:

help me with writing to newborn grandson with beginning, “even before you were born i loved you…”

If I were going to write this letter, I’d begin with a detailed description of what its like to wish for spring in January or for health for someone you love. It’s the kind of wish that seeps into the marrow of your bones, the kind that prevails even when the guarded (or downright poor) diagnosis or the stinging snowstorm provide every reason to think it’s too soon to have so many emotions about something that hasn’t even happened yet.

That, I think, is very similar to what it’s like to love someone before you ever meet them.



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