Dec 14, 2021 • 8M

Because It's Meant To

The story of the changing seasons.

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“You ever look outside and just get lost in the seasons?” he said, pacing around the shop. His eyes were glued to the waves of tumbling leaves wafting around on the wind outside. It was their time to die, their time to break off the twigs and branches that once held them tight. Their time to gracefully flip over a few times before resting between the blades of brown and yellow grass.

I’d seen Gavin in here many times before, but rarely ever talked to him. We usually just exchanged glances, head nods, and when one of us sneezed, the other would bless. This coffee shop was a sort of home-away-from-home for us both. The same could be said for a host of locals that frequented this place. I’d been musing frequent visits into every day occurrences, cementing my time in routine. They had the best coffee, and the best side conversations to spy in on; great commentary on the problems that plague life and plenty of posited solutions. It all happened here, gears churning and wheeling ideas into new blips of caffeine-fueled ambition. The artists, the real estate agents, the business people, the dungeons and dragons folk, musicians—there was a spectrum of brain and brawn that crawled out from the trees of north Georgia and gelled together here. Coffee is coffee and when it’s roasted, they come.

“The seasons are really somethin’. The way they change, I mean. They’re all so different from each other. It’s honestly really quite wonderful, ya know?” Gavin said. He was still pacing and rubbing his chin, eyes still stapled to the autumn swirl stirring outside the window. I was across the shop, cozied up against a stretch of glazed oak that formed a table, staring out the window and humming the tunes of fall as well. His feet were restless and he paced and gaited around the shop to every corner and was grinding out some thoughts on the changing weather. Most people used the weather to break the ice or talk small, but Gavin had real substance to pick like a bone off the chicken wing. And he was.

“It’s like, summer is long and hot and steamy, especially down here in the south. But then there’s this transformation into winter that takes several months. And winter is completely different! The humidity is gone and you can see between all the trees and suddenly there are houses and stores that you never could see before,” he exclaimed, massaging his scalp, completely mesmerized.

“That’s a good point. I’ve always thought it interesting to be able to see between the trees in the winter. Everything out here always feels wild and forested in. Then the leaves fall and the trees grow thin and you can see everything. Like the south’s clothes got ripped off and everyone’s privacy is out and open!” The barista behind the bar replied back, and they were conversating now. Everyone in the shop was tapping away on their keyboards, scribbling in notebooks—doing something else, something we all came here to consume ourselves with. But really, we were just listening.

“Exactly! It’s so weird. But it’s supposed to be that way,” Gavin went on, bouncing off the barista’s perception of winter. “I think it was all created that way—which is really quite brilliant.” Gavin was halfway across the shop, still wearing tracks in the floor of the coffee house, chiming back to the barista over his shoulder. His eyes were wide and you could see the autumnal reflection in them. It was the little things that warmed up his blood. The little things, little like summer, spring, winter, fall. Seasons—the normal, everyday seasons, the ones we all live through year after year. But they weren’t so little now, they were happening. The world was changing, and it wasn’t miniscule or trivial. It was happening and we all took it for granted. But not Gavin, he was watching and graphing it all out across his mind. The barista was nodding and wiping a mug clean. She placed it up on a rack with fifty other mugs and leaned against the checkout counter and listened.

“God made the seasons this way. He really did. Which of course begs the question—why?” he said, using hand motions and stumbling down the subsequent line of questioning. It was like watching the penultimate moment in a crime scene investigation flick, where the detective bounds from one conclusion to the next and finally rounds out the clues into hypothesis.

Gavin went on, “He made it this way, with all the seasons being so different from one another, because it makes us appreciate the one before and the one after.” He paused his pacing and shifted his eyeline across the shop to the barista. She nodded and rubbed her palms against the counter and thought hard about that.

“See, summer is nice, but eventually we get sick of the heat, the water in the air, it becomes muggy and awful after a while. So then we get to flip over into fall, when everything’s dying. Which is beautiful, but all that death can really wear on you. So then we get winter, and everything is hibernated and cozy and the snow is so pure.” He was ironing out the answers and waving his fingers and stoking himself up on his ideas about God and the Earth. I kept staring through the thick glass window of the coffee shop, watching one dead leaf tumble into the gutter after another.

“God made it that way because it’s so easy for us humans to adapt and then take everything for granted. It’s one of the things we’re best at, truth be told,” he said, resuming his pacing and window gazing. I sat unblinking, listening with intent. Gavin’s bone was picking and his mouth may have been his own, or it may have been a conduit for some greater wisdom from the ether—either way, it felt like known information that was being told to me in a new way. And I was sitting and nodding, too. We all were.

“What’s more, the seasons aren’t just a little different, they’re hugely different! Now, some places in the world aren’t that varied. But on the whole, most places change a lot over the course of a year,” he chanted with excitement. Season theory was solving, and to me it was all making sense.

Seasons were changing and the world was adapting and melding over into something new, always moving toward something new, even if it had to die to get there. And it had to be that way, there was no other route to take. It couldn’t just be the same thing every day, for years on end. The same seasons, the same weather, the same earthly habits. It has to change like a river has to wind around the hills. And I’ve been in this coffee shop so many times and stared out this window so many times, my routines are grounding and slowly solidifying like wet concrete. Frozen in place like stone. The seasons are changing though, and they’re meant to. Most importantly, they are meant to. And I knew it all in a moment.

“It’s really just a beautiful process, isn’t it?” Gavin continued, “It’s an omniscient reminder that life is always moving along, because it has to.” He stopped pacing again, lifted his coffee cup to his lips, and took a sip. He let out a satisfied exhale and sucked on his teeth for a moment. Then he smiled, curtailed a little bow to the barista, said his thanks, and ducked out into the changing seasons beyond the glass.

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