Lose to Gain
In periods of growth, there is also gradual loss. Under the right conditions, this is an orderly process through which you slowly absorb what you need throughout.
Those catalysts that create growth gently fade away, leaving others in their place. That is change. However, loss accelerates before a fall.
During autumn, leaves change colors from fresh green to deep reds and browns. As daylight hours shorten, the veins that carry fluid to the leaves constrict, reducing the flow of water and minerals and the production of chlorophyll. Some pigments are lost, which allows for different ones to show. This natural color change from summer to fall is a process we perceive visually, along with our fading tans, summer white dresses to creamy tan cashmere, and a dimming of the summer sunshine. Autumn is a season of change: work instead of play, life in a different color.
Loss of pigment, minerals, and chlorophyll increases rapidly before the leaves drop, ending the season of change and beginning the season of loss that is winter. Days continue to grow shorter, temperatures plunge, we retreat indoors, and bundle into sweaters; our parkas hang ready. Skin loses moisture and we smear on pale lip glosses, creamy lotions, and deep conditioners. We begin to hibernate. Our apartments become cozy caves, perfect for soup, red wine, and dinner parties. The only thing we gain is perhaps a few pounds and someone to keep us warm. Streetlights shine through the ice forming on our windows.
It often seems that winter will last forever. Why did we grow and change just to lose that glow? Just to hide away? The change of seasons is a cyclic force, the uncontrollable hand of nature whose control over our daily existence we accept because we must.
When we think of change – and ultimate loss – within the larger patterns of our life, we can learn from our acceptance of the seasons.
That layer of fallen brown leaves that will soon blanket our parks and sidewalks will eventually give way to the tiny green shoots appearing in spring, just as we begin to open our windows and prepare for a new season. Growth is change, change is loss, and loss is growth.