When and where I grew up, there was winter. The snow piled high for weeks – for months – and we made snowmen and forts and I went sledding and cross-country skiing and we had a skating rink in our backyard. And we ate red delicious apples all winter because they stored well, so they were cheap all year around, even in the north of Canada.
There and then, spring came. It was a slow event, but it happened. The snow became mud and then soil and then grass and flowers. Winter-stored apples gave way to strawberries and then blueberries.
I’m elsewhere now, where the ocean and the mountains guard us from extreme seasonal changes. Still, people who grew up here remember winter. It was shorter and milder than the ones I knew, but there was snow. There isn’t any longer. It got cold, here and there, but barely more than frosty. Fruit comes from California; there’s no end to strawberry season.
I’m not exactly nostalgic for winter. I remember shovelling out cars and scary rides on icy roads and power outages and I never did like red delicious apples very much. But I do miss the unique pleasures of each season savoured because they were fleeting. The wheel of the year turns and relieves one season’s pains and brings in the next’s pleasures. This too shall pass…
Unless it doesn’t anymore. Climate change has slowed the wheel to a near stop some places, and sent it spinning like a toppling top in others. Here, climate change has stolen our seasons. Our wheel of the year is cracked, especially in this city, and we could be set adrift into seasonless time, another step away from nature. We Pagans will have to stand with locavores and gardners and seasonal sports lovers and hold the wheel together, finding the seasons even in the changed, unchanging city streets and honouring the subtle shifts. Our magic cannot fix what has been broken, but we can hold the energy while we join others in trying to make the earth healthy again.