What Seasons Can Teach Us
After a questionable start, summer is finally in full swing in the UK! This is my favourite season so I am more than happy about this. It means long days as light stretches out unafraid of overstaying its welcome, brighter faces, lighter moods, flowers in glorious bloom – the list is endless for me.
I love that I live in a country that experiences all four seasons. Seasons remind me of my humanity and grace me with the gift of perspective – there are ecosystems that exist and thrive, shift and transition without my intervention. Creation changes before my eyes each year and I haven’t done anything to contribute to it: it is bigger than both my successes and failures.
This made me start to ponder, so I thought I’d share some reflections on what I think each of the four seasons can teach us about creativity.
Summer is the time of year where routine is disrupted – people travel, take time off work, and visit family or friends far away. We all have rhythms that we become familiar and comfortable with – we have one writing space, or one painting playlist, or one default instrument to start a composition with. There is immense value in structure and in these almost subconscious rituals – it cultivates consistency and a certain level of reliability. But summer is the season that teaches me the art of flexibility and to embrace the challenge of trying something new and unfamiliar. It’s so easy to prioritise productivity over the potential delay wrapped up in an experiment. And whilst it’s important to rest and play just for the sake of rest and play, on multiple occasions I’ve been pleasantly surprised by revelation or inspiration that pops up in the very moments that I’m “switched off.”
Autumn reveals to me tension between the ephemeral and the eternal. Leaves shed in what seems like fleeting movement yet there is certainty that these same leaves will burst into life again: it is this ironic, perpetual cycle of change. This gives me the courage to let go and shed things in my writing (but also in life). When I let go of something I’ve written in the brutal process of editing or refining, what I initially perceive as lost time and effort can become seeds that reap a harvest of creative return I can’t yet see. Or in the same way that the colour of leaves transform into these golden, chestnut and burnt orange hues, letting go creatively can release our imagination to discover new expressions: new colours are birthed out of this season of transition or loss.
As someone who is driven and self-motivated, the learnings from winter come as a much-needed reminder. As trees become bare and barren, winter teaches us that as living things we don’t have the capacity to constantly produce (or produce visibly or tangibly at least, there can be so much thriving beneath the surface which isn’t instantly recognisable). Only a machine can produce 24/7. Winter slows us down and reminds us of our humanity. It is a sign to be kinder to ourselves if and when we’re not creating or producing at the pace we’d like to be or think we should be. Even without their leaves or fruit, trees still stand tall and strong. This tells me that what we produce is not the sum total of who we are – our roots (our core values, beliefs and support systems) is what secures and centres us.
For me, spring is the season of surprise. I love seeing bursts of colour in the least likely places. My garden is constantly full of flowers springing up in the most random spaces where I haven’t even planted anything. This speaks volumes about legacy. Someone I don’t even know may have left seeds in my garden’s soil and I now reap the benefit of beauty. In this same way, what we create now may seem insignificant in the present moment but has the potential to bring beauty and life to people and places we don’t yet know.
“A society grows great when [people] plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit”