Seasons of Change

Life happens. Things change.

I was reminded of this recently when watching a series of videos by large format photographer, Ben Horne. He was explaining the mental process he took to create a series of photographs in the White Mountains, and he stopped to comment on the short life of large format film.

Now, I am such a huge Ben Horne fan that the idea the film would not exist any longer is a bit heart-stopping for me. I mean, have these people not seen his work? Do they not know what they're killing here? Obviously not. Yet the day comes when they'll be no more of it to be found, and he'll have to change.

Similarly, I remember my father buying me my first large digital camera card. At the time, it was the biggest one made, and it cost a whopping $199.00. However, a year later that card cost next to nothing, another year and it didn't exist. Change came, and I had to adapt.

Nature changes all the time. In the spring, things turn a myriad shades of green. Buds form. Leaves sprout, and flowers unfurl happy faces in preparation for the hot summer months. Life seems to be everywhere. But come autumn all of the earth slows down. The trees dust their sleepy eyes in contemplation of a long winter and a season of cold.

Yet that cold isn't a waste. Instead, it serves for much of nature as a stepping stone back toward spring. It's dormancy, but not deadness. Some plants won't sprout without a period of cold first. Many insects require a few months of rest to emerge, and certain animals need winter's sleep to live as they were created.

Each season holds its own beauty and purpose. While I can enjoy the vivid reds and oranges of autumn, I can also enjoy the more muted pastels winter and look forward to one as much as the other simply for the thrill of experiencing what comes next.

They say never to ask a woman her age, and maybe that is good advice. Yet I find age as much a natural part of the process of change as these seasons of the year. I look back fondly, or not so fondly, on portions of my life with no desire to relive any of it because I know things will never remain the same no matter how much I'd like them to. I must accept the fact of change above all else.

There are no highs in life without there being lows as well. I don't plan for the lows. Instead, I plan to avoid the lows. But I also accept them when they come as precursors to something better just around the bend. Just as I loved that first camera, just as I was thrilled to have that expensive digital card in it, I was equally happy when I moved on. I couldn't stay there or I'd become stagnant.

You've been beside stagnant water before. It's that bucket you never overturned, the one swarming with mosquito larvae, the one emitting the foul smell. Do you realize how it got that way? Through disuse.

Left alone our talents became sluggish, dull, and boring, and so we set them aside when in fact, a new perspective, a new point of view, might change our outlook on everything. It might spark in us the desire to grow and transform into something we never thought we'd be, to do things we never thought we'd do.

If you'd have told me a couple years ago, I'd be writing fiction, I would have laughed. If a few years before that you'd said my husband and I would build a new home from the ground up, I would have laughed even harder. I couldn't foresee the path of my life.

Yet both parts came through change. I wasn't always willing to accept every facet, but that didn't stop the process from happening because I have found life at times to be a bit like that of a caterpillar. Caterpillars are content with only one thing - eating. They chomp and they chew until something inside propels them to become something they weren't before, something grander, something that makes people stop and point and stare in amazement.

But did you know how fragile they are? I held one in my palm this week whose wings dried crooked. In only a split second of time, something went wrong and he was destined to never fly, never feed, never spread his wings and show the world how marvelous things could be. Because life is marvelous. And life is full of change.

Change is what you make of it. You can decide to embrace it or to resist it. You can sit around mourning the past, or you can turn your gaze instead to the hope of a glorious future. I know I am.