Spring and Autumn: Contrast and Comparison

In an annual cycle, spring and autumn represent the beginning of a cycle and the end of a cycle, respectively. While both are known for a particular type of natural display, spring signals hope while autumn denotes a literal death. The two seasons are more different than alike.

Spring is the season that brings warmth, growth and temperance to the soul after the long, cold days of winter. It is a cause for celebration. Flower buds poke their heads up through the earth, the sun shines down on the land and for most people, there is a long collective sigh as we look forward to experiencing summer and all the joy that denotes. Spring is also associated religiously with Easter, and the Catholic Lent period, based upon the equinox occurring March 20th or 21st. Academically, spring is the first scheduled break of the year (not including New Year’s Day) to coincide with warmer weather and when “a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love” (Tennyson, 1842).

In contrast, autumn is the season which brings football games, a showy display of dying leaves and exhorts us to bring our sweaters out of hiding. It is a time to bundle up and hunker down in preparation for winter. Even a mild fall season has sinister repercussions, according to this old weather proverb: “flowers in bloom late in autumn indicate a bad winter”. In religious history, Halloween, or actually All Hallows Eve, occurs in autumn as the night before All Saints Day. It was believed that disembodied spirits chose this day to find a body to reside in for the next year. It is not such a far stretch, then, that Halloween, along with trees shedding their leaves, means autumn in general signifies death for most people – death of plants and flowers, death of the summer, death of good weather.

Spring – a new beginning, autumn – a gradual death. In this way the seasons are similar in that they promote thoughts of our own life cycle. There are proponents of each who will declare either spring or fall as being the best season of the year. Whether you love one and hate the other, both are necessary to replenish our souls and keep the cycle of life going strong.

References

Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, Origins, Meanings and Practices of Easter. Retrieved September 11, 2007, from the Religious Tolerance Web site: http://www.religioustolerance.org/easter.htm.

Wilson, Jerry. History and Customs of Halloween. Retrieved September 11, 2007, from the Wilstar Web site: http://wilstar.com/holidays/hallown.htm.