Sunday, November 29, 2009

The graceful art of letting go



I love living in a landscape that experiences four very distinct and dramatic seasons. Though I loved living in San Francisco, and the natives there swear they can easily see the differences in the seasons, the turning of the year was never obvious to me. In San Francisco you might be cold enough in August to wear a winter coat, or build a roaring fire. In January on a nice day you might decide go to the beach. I found that disparity of weather with season so disorienting. I know, I know - I should have been content with the temperate climate, should have taken my seasonal cues from the decrease and increase of daylight, the position of the sun in the sky, etc. I tried, but was unsuccessful at becoming a real Californian, mostly because I was so confounded by the weather.

I'll be the first to admit I do not enjoy the hottest days of summer or the most bitter cold of winter (there are only a few of those here in the midatlantic). That said, most of the year I love the seasons and weather, especially during our lengthy fall and spring.

Watching the leaves turn color and drop to the ground reminds me that nothing lasts forever, that life is all about transformations, comings and goings. I've been keeping an eye on the beautiful ginko tree by Maury School as it changed from green to gold to empty during November. The drama of that big change reminds me that a life well lived includes the art of letting go. Clinging - to anything - goes against the natural order of things in this amazing, beautiful, frightening, spectacular world. And yet we humans continue to try to cling, no matter what. At least, I have that tendency. What is up with that?

Thinking these thoughts is what inspired me to take the above pic of Tonka, the vigorous household dog, seated as he was on a bed of fallen ginko leaves from the tree in the slide show below. Tonka is not my dog but he's lovely, photogenic, and doesn't mind having his image digitally recorded. Jake is gone, but the truth is, I like photographing dogs. Onwards and upwards, indeed.

17 comments:

Cynthia Pittmann said...

So true...hanging on gives us a lot of hang ups! I love the seasonal change too, but it's even more subtle here in Puerto Rico. (You have quite a talent for dog photography-I have yet to get a great shot of our tribe of 12!)

Deborah said...

thank you for this
for your messages
for your love

i love you more than
i would ever have thought possible
to love

Barry said...

Our leaves have been virtually all gone for several weeks now.

Snow had been predicted for last Friday but we dodged that bullet.

But soon no amount of dodging will save us from the white stuff.

Linda Sue said...

Change- the only sure thing- oh, and LOVE- that seems to be a constant...Love your shots of the tree changing.

Peaches said...

I live in south Louisiana where you never put away your summer clothes...but I do love the fall.

steven said...

reya - such a great set of photos. you know i love the changes although i mourn the passing of some. i like the snow to stay away as long as possible so i can bike further into the year. but it comes and then i love it for its magic. i think there are more than four seasons, depending on where you live. have a lovely afternoon. steven

John Hayes said...

Tonka looks like such a sweet dog, & the slideshow of the ginko is lovely. Real loss is a bitter mystery, I think, & it tends to throw us outside the cyclical motions of the natural year because a real loss has a sense of permanence in passing time. But enough of my philosophizing--it's great to see a photo of a dog here!

debra said...

Apropos that he is sitting on a bed of ginkgo leaves

Merle Sneed said...

The joke is that we have two seasons in Arizona. (1) The sky is blue and the grass is green, (2) the sky is blue and the grass is brown.

Ronda Laveen said...

Thanks for the slide show. It is so nice to see seasons in another area. Sometimes we cling to things. Sometimes things cling to us.

Tonka looks like a powerful stud. Loved this photograph of him. And, yes, your love of capturing dogs shows.

Reya Mellicker said...

John I will never have enough of your philosophizing! Please carry on! Yes it's true there will not be another Jake in my life, but there are, and will be, dogs. Seasons come and go, all of them different than last year's or the year before.

Steven you are so right that there are more than four seasons. Duh!! Thank you for this. Four obvious seasons but many more not so obvious.

Yes Ronda, Tonka is a huge, powerful, enthusiastic dog. Beautiful and smart and manipulative, but we love him.

Nancy said...

I'm feeling the urge to move onward - time to let go of my beautiful Lake. It is really amazing how one can make that kind of decision in an instant - and know it to be time. Onward and upward. Time for new experiences and new beginnings.

I really like your picture of Tonka! He's quite photogenic.

Karen said...

I think my favorite photo is the third one--where there's a blanket of yellow beneath the tree. It's like the tree has given the sidewalk a gift, or something. :)

Handsome pup!

janis said...

Oh Reya! You did it again! Beautifully written and yes, Tonka is a majestic fellow indeed! At first I had a glimmer of hope that you have opened your home to another four legged friend. I am glad you have "loaners".
I love the photos of the Ginko tree. How cool to show the changing of them.
You are awesome! I love reading your blog.

janis said...

ps..this evening I had to take several shots of our three pups with my daughters for our tradional Holiday cards. The dogs had antlers on and it wasn't easy! At least I could get several shots to choose one out of! I could have used some tips!

Meri said...

Love the effect of the changeable view.

ellen abbott said...

Letting go is good. I let go of a couple of things this past year.