4 Seasons: A Metaphor for Life and Death and the Cycle of Life

Nature often reflects the natural order of the universe. Falling under this umbrella is how nature changes with weather and the amount of each day’s daylight, climate, weather patterns, etc. The four seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter – are a primary example. A year – the cyclical nature of the fleeting seasons – can be seen as a metaphor depicting the cycle of life for a human being: From birth through adulthood and into old age and ending with death. This further emphasizes mortality, which is part of the natural order of things.

Like a newborn baby, life comes first – and so does Spring, the emergence of life, a time of birth and creation. This can be seen as illustrating the birth of a human being, or any life form for that matter.  Flowers and trees are coming alive after the long, dark winter – and it’s a time of death and nothingness or nonexistence. As the days grow longer and there are more hours of daylight, everything, all of nature, begins to grow and blossom. This is much like the first 20 or so years of a person’s life, when they are first born, then grow and blossom.

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After this stage of life, a person enters their summer years, their 20s and 30s – a time of exploration, fun and adventure, friends and memories. It’s also a time of self-exploration, as in choosing a career and finding success and figuring out what makes them feel productive and happy and healthy. This is quite similar to the summer months of the year, in which plants are flourishing and in their prime when they are at the height of the year lives. In the summer season, it seems time is never-ending, with no hint of the season ever ending and certainly no thoughts of life’s end, no apprehensions of withering away because of old age. This is a metaphor for the phase of one’s summer years, with the season lending itself as an appropriate depiction of this time in one’s life.

Fall is naturally a beautiful season, one that is comparable to middle age. There is still much life and beauty in the plants and landscape during this time of the year. However, the days are getting shorter, there are fewer hours of sunshine in each day, prompting a change in the foliage. Leaves transform from green to yellow, brown and orange, at least in much of the United States, and they wilt away and fall to the ground. Though this makes a splendid sight, it represents the first signs of wilting away, of death, in people. The leaves fall to the ground making the trees lighter and more resilient for the proceeding winter months. Fall represents the golden years, the years after 40 and before 70 or so, where life begins to change; it’s the time right before old age when people experience changes in their lives and in their bodies, inwardly and outwardly, when they, quite, unfortunately, start experiencing the signs of death, of withering away slowly and inevitably. Nonetheless, this is just a time of a natural transformation, and because of that is quite beautiful in and of itself.

Lastly, winter comes. This is a time of decrepitude, of illness and death. The days are short, the nights are long, and most days are unsightly, depressing, lonely and dark. Of course, snow falls in winter, these winter months have not been traditionally well liked or enjoyed compared to the more aesthetically appealing seasons, such as summer. Winter is much like the time after a person’s productive years. It is a time of wisdom, dying and finally death. Trees essentially die off in winter. Just like people tend to die in old age, in their elderly years. In winter, the days the shorter, the same the days get shorter for people, too.

A person can find comfort in observing the four seasons this way. People are afraid of death, of change, and so they begin to resist the natural order of the universe. But if they can see the change as inevitable, that death is part of life, they can find solace in letting go and just going with the flow, so to speak.

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