Saturday, September 05, 2009

Lightning and Thunder, and a Bit of Home

Once again, Summer has come to it's abrupt death.

It was only months ago we witnessed the coming of spring. The blooming flowers, amidst the bluish marble sky, and the sounds of birds chirping in unison. All this, came together as part of an age old rite. This rite was witnessed from the days of yore, where our earliest ancestors left the comforts of their dwellings, to envelope themselves in lush greenish pastures. It meant for them with the coming of the sun - life: the reaping of the harvest, and the fulfillment of the promise of months upon months of persistence and perseverance. However, the summer was never marked to be just the fulfillment of their temporal dietary needs. They knew that the summer, and whatever life it brings with it, must and will eventually come to an end. Thousands of years before Newton developed his First Law, men understood that everything that has a beginning, must have an end. However, there are many ends to conceive, especially one which determines future survival. They, our first ancestors, knew that eventually everything will come full circle, and the cycle shall begin yet again. With this knowledge, they stored their surplus harvest in storehouses organized through the formation of complex social structures which form the basis of society we know today. They too, began looking for new lands to till, with the coming of the next summer in mind. Men learned that to survive, not just for herself, but for each of her own, one has to bear the hardships dealt to them by life, and soldier on.

Today, our daily struggles involve far more than just worrying about the next harvest. Many of us have issues of our own. I've heard stories of how people struggle to find work; friends who are under incredible pressure to fulfill the social expectations laid upon them by their parents to get a good job for themselves after the financial investments they have put into their college education; some of us have personal problems - struggles with our own identity, with our love lives. Myself, well, I just do not know where I am going with my life and I can't seem to get around doing something about it.

Some would describe this coming of Fall as a transition marked by depression. The leaves wither and die, the birds migrate to warmer climates, and the Vancouver sky is shrouded in mist and fog, and the land is covered in icy snow. I concede more often than not, I'll be one of the first people to say that I wish summer was here again!

But last night, I heard the sound of thunder roaring through the night sky. Given that I have been a victim of a lightning strike in my teenage years, I was never fond of the coming of a thunderstorm. But it was different last night, as I watched the momentary flashes of light. I guess it was because as I closed my eyes, and heard the raging roar of nature, it reminded me a little of home. Being so far away from home, and held present in a foreign land, these brief moments of internalization actually served as a source of comfort - that even amidst the strangeness of where I am, I still could witness something I always saw back home, back to where I was most familiar with.

So what of the change of the seasons then? I believe that it is not so much what the seasons hold. The seasons, as our ancestors knew, will come and go. Eventually, it was what the transition of the seasons meant for each of ourselves. As each of us reflect upon the challenges of our lives, it is pretty easy to channel all those problems unto the natural setting we see before us. However, if we are to remain strong and resilient like our forefathers were, even amidst the most torrid of nature's rage, couldn't we persuade ourselves that summer would eventually come? That our problems regardless of whether it is summer or fall will always be there, and that all we need to do the lessen the burdens laid upon our souls is to take that first step and work towards the betterment of ourselves. Even if we were to fall short, at least we tried, but failed, but the whole experience has made each of us stronger and wiser. Failure, will not just be an end itself, but rather a rejuvenation of the self, when summer comes again. For this is the rite, the rite which all men had been through. It is up to us to decide for ourselves if we are to appreciate these rites beyond the passing of the seasons.

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