Just as plants and non-human animals respond to the seasons by hibernating or mating or pushing leaves up towards sunlight, we humans, too, have responses, often mysterious and complex, in response to the seasons. Memories embedded in our bodies are loosened by a slant of light, the rush of cold air, or the smell of pollen. Adrienne Rich writes about scars that re-open once each year, on the anniversary of something sad or hurtful. Emotional time is cyclical rather than linear. Today, the February 23rd of two years ago, when I was home alone, my husband out of town, surfing blogs to keep myself company, or the February 23rd of seventeen years ago, when I was tucked in bed, grieving for the miscarriage I had just had, are closer to me than the West Coast trip I took last summer or the trip I will be taking to see my daughter two weeks from now.
Perhaps these cycles are the only way our frail human selves can handle deep emotions like grief, hurt, and betrayal. The rhythm is a bit like the contractions that come during labor, waves of intensity are separated by periods of rest, quiet moment during which the body gathers strength for what comes next. Like labor, perhaps it's best not to fight these waves of emotions, but accept them, welcome them, surrender to them, knowing that time will bring respite. The seasons will change, February will end, and spring, with its sensual mix of lilac and tree pollen and new mud, will rush in.