As winter loses its grip in March, nature gains momentum, spurred on by the fertility and recovery of spring. Fragrance, color and sound reclaim the landscape and a surge of life spreads through the natural ecosystems of planet Earth. Come summer, stifled by heat, a period of maturation ensues, taking nature from the unbridled growth of late spring to the mellow ripening of early fall.
Indeed, by autumn, nature is in her prime as her bounty reaches its peak and the harvest begins. Mild days, colorful foliage and cool, pleasant nights set the stage for this annual feast as our wild neighbors benefit from her produce and prepare for the demands of winter. In concert, migrant birds and mammals gather at favored feeding grounds, storing energy to escape the coming ice and snow. For those of us who enjoy nature, it is the best season to explore her varied realms.
As much a part of nature as the colorful plants and wild creatures that we observe, our lives mimic the seasonal progression of nature's year. Our springtime of youth, carefree and adventurous, is followed by a trial of fire, ensuring our maturation as parents and as productive members of human society. By late middle age, we enter the prime of our lives, confident, experienced and satisfied with our contribution; it is then, in the autumn of life, that we let ourselves slow down and enjoy the rewards of our demanding career. After all, we know that the winter of infirmity lies ahead and that we, like nature's other creatures, will succumb to her relentless cycle.