Sonnet 97

Time apart from a friend feels like winter coming on: not quite like winter, but like winter coming on, like winter approaching. The thought of the friend carries feelings of the warmth and the fullness of summer turning into the harvest season of fall, but absence always  seems in part at least like the freeze of winter.

We can all feel all the seasons in us at any time of the year.  Our relationships with one another are not separate from our relationship with the earth. We are children of the earth.

We have so many ways to insulate ourselves from the seasons now.  One season of recreation follows another. The seasons and the weather are barely inconveniences for all our happy activities and pastimes, indoor, outdoor. We dominate the weather and the world with fossil fuels, climate controlled environments and climate controlled transportation wherever we want to go. We are eating up the earth in order to insulate ourselves from the earth. The result is that we are poorer people and the earth is mortally wounded. Until very recently human beings thought that we could go on dominating the world and the climate with new technologies and inventions that would make life more convenient and more fun.

Maybe life shouldn’t be so convenient. In a grounded, spirit-filled life, the earth–in her seasons, weather and elements–teaches us about relationships between people. Stand out in the rain. Feel the heat of the sun and the coming cold of winter. Pick up a stone. Touch a leaf.  Walk a mountain trail. Swim in the surf. Read a sonnet by Shakespeare.

Sonnet 97
How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December's bareness everywhere! 
And yet this time removed was summer's time;
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widow'd wombs after their lords' decease:
Yet this abundant issue seem'd to me
But hope of orphans, and unfather'd fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are mute:
  Or, if they sing, 'tis with so dull a cheer,
  That leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near.

--William Shakespeare

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