A few weeks ago I met someone who is a frequent visitor to one of our Bergen Audubon butterfly gardens . She sat back in her chair and looked at me with sad eyes and said, “Don, things are not good at the butterfly garden.” Needless to say I immediately became alarmed and many catastrophic scenarios began to race through my head.
Was there vandalism? Did a heard of ravenous deer take up residence? Did the groundhogs and bunnies form an evil alliance against the garden making all our hard work for naught? So, it was with great anxiety that I finally got up the nerve to ask the question “What Happened?”
It was then that my fellow lover of the garden looked up at me again with her big, almost teary eyes and said, “the flowers are almost gone, Summer is over.”
Of course I hesitated for a few seconds, not sure to laugh or make a joke, but it did not take me long to see my friend was very serious and was genuinely very unhappy that all the flowers of the year were now just about gone.
I sat down in the chair across from her trying to find the correct words to explain that all was going to be okay. I finally replied, “yes I know, that is what is supposed to happen. Nature knows it is time.” I am not sure If I made her feel any better but I think the idea of a season and time for everything is something that we deal with every day, one way or the other, and in some old and ancient way grants us some kind of solace.
I don’t think I could ever live anywhere without a change of season. The period changes are a time that nature almost forces us to hold up and like the last flowers come to the realization things will be changing but never actually stopping as it may seem to some. As fall goes into winter we will have the time to renew and reflect,to take stock and rest-up, to think both back and ahead and like those last flowers regenerate enough strength to continue forward.
The last flowers of the season hang on as an acknowledgment to the wildlife that has endured. They stay to embrace all the bees, birds and butterflies together as one ecosystem, they allow them to survive and flourish and create a new generation, and at the same time they inspire us to believe that life will always continue.
The last flowers give us the faith that what remains will bring new life even after they are long gone. Very soon the last flowers will be just a memory not only to my disappointed friend but to all of us. And yet as we think ahead they will bring the Goldfinch through the long winter, allow the Monarch to return in spring and help remind us that in every season what we achieve now will help life begin again very soon.
Don’t forget to get outside, breathe nature into your hearts and souls. The flowers that we loved all summer are there enduring and lasting much like us.