The Seasons Shift and our Ancestral Connections
How the weather, scents, and sound can connect us to our near and far past
Our bodies are beautiful rhythmic creatures. They dance along to the beat of the seasons shifting. They adapt to the weather changes, the way the daylight shines, and the scents and sounds that the seasonal change brings. Flowing along with the earth's rhythms no matter where we go.
We watch the leaves change color and fall from the trees each year knowing they will once again sprout in the spring. We trust that nature will follow along with this cycle. But we are nature too, and therefore we follow the same rhythms.
I feel these shifts within my physical body, but I also notice certain memories that return with these seasonal rhythms. This reminds me of the bigger aspect of what I am and how I may not hold an answer to why these memories emerge.
‘Antonio Vivaldi The Four Seasons' cover designed by Bob Haberfield
The Spring reminds me of living in South Philadelphia. How good it felt to open the windows for the first time after a long winter. How my best friend and then roommates cat would sneak on the rooftop from my bedroom to catch the afternoon sun. How we would sunbathe while looking out over the sea of tiny uniform backyards that were the same size as a parking space.
The Fall reminds me of my Grandma and Grandpop Hubinsky’s yard where we would rake leaves into giant piles and jump into them. How the leaves smelled damp and musty and the voices sounded muffled as I lay under them.
The Winter reminds me of my Grandparent’s house and how it would smell while my grandma prepared the traditional Slovak Christmas Eve meal. This memory still tears my eyes as it holds so much happiness. So much nostalgia. So much joy. How if I could bottle that time it would be a potent medicine on a day of sorrow.
The summer reminds me of the smell of chlorine from the public pool. How the leather seats in my mom’s sedan would burn my butt if I didn’t lay a towel down. How I feared getting lost in the sea of humans on the Ocean City boardwalk, and the arguments my brothers and I would have over Star Wars action figures while we were sandwiched in the backseat of our old station wagon.
How beautiful is it that the mind holds onto these moments for us? Absorbing the moments, the scents, and the sounds, while acting like an absorbent mirror.
With the Winter Solstice nearing, these memories are uprooted and fresh in my mind. Recently, I have found myself visiting moments of my childhood while in adulthood and wondering about my future. Within these thoughts, I am capturing the moments of all versions of myself. Another beautiful thing the mind can do. Wondering if who I was as a child is who I am now. How my experiences have physically changed me. How maybe I can pass those experiences on if I have children one day. Then wondering if I am the accumulation of my ancestors of the past. If these childhood memories of tradition are emotionally strong because they are meant to be because these are the memories that are meant not to be forgotten. Perhaps some of them mirror an ancestor of the past? A way of me lighting a torch to observe the many versions of myself all at once.
The torches (engraving) by English School, (19th century); Private Collection; (add.info.: The torches. Illustration for Aunt Friendly’s Sunday Keepsake (Frederick Warne, c 1880)
Deep with these thoughts, on this rainy December day, these thoughts inspire me to show up better in this time and space. To spend the moments I have now in the best way that I can. To have the harder conversations but from a place of love. To iron out any tangles in relationships. To move forward with my interactions gracefully.
I urge you to show up the same way over the next few weeks as you spend time with family, friends, or those that you consider family. Giving yourself the space you need, and the closeness you deserve. Creating realistic, healthy, and organic connections to carry with you for generations.