Seasons & Cycles, Routines & Rhythms

yin-yang symbols, arrows showing cycleNothing like a break in the sequence to call the attention to these things. My blogging has gone from sporadic to stop-and-start to mostly stopped. As a chosen outlet for me, it’s quite all right that I have slowed down to the point of seeming to stop entirely. This is not a paid gig. This is not a promise to fulfill. This is not an obligation.

It’s supposed to be fun, ya know. So, when it’s not, I take a break. Hey, there are other things to do on the back porch.

Summer just officially started last week, and sure enough, we’re having higher temperatures here in “The Climate Capital of Colorado.” But not before there was snow up in the mountains on the first day of summer. We didn’t get snow here in Cañon City, but we’re still having chilly mornings and evenings.

See, back in Texas, the summer solstice was always a bit of a joke.  Summer starting? The “oven” usually starts preheating Texas about late April, sometimes earlier. I can remember sweltering outside on hundred-degree days in early March. Summers in Texas were a big part of why we left. As we considered where we might move to after selling our house on Dexter Street, Sara announced, “Honey, I love you but I am DONE with Texas summers. I love you and moved here to marry you, but 27 Texas summers is enough.” Being a lifelong Texan, I had just always adjusted, but I gotta admit, it does feel great to sit outside in the evening and not feel like you’re melting into a pool of sweat.

Another aspect of our adjustment to discernible seasons was giving up air conditioning. Tantamount to slow suicide in the south in the summertime, going without air conditioning was never something I considered —until we found this house and fell in love with it. Of course, in Colorado, heating becomes more of a focus, and the cooling of our hundred-year-old baby Victorian depends upon an evaporative cooler, better known as a swamp cooler. By passing incoming air over water-soaked pads, the swamp cooler creates a steady stream of cool air to pump into the house. It’s more than adequate for our needs. The only part of the house that heats up to an uncomfortably noticeable level is my upstairs study-work room.

Anyway, relying on a swamp cooler introduced us to a new seasonal cycle of maintenance. Summertime signals the need to reconnect the water-line to soak the pads, removal of the cover to allow air intake, and checking the machinery. In the fall, before hard freezes cause damage, the water-line has to be drained and the cooler covered to help prevent windy downdrafts invading the house.

It’s a soothing cycle, slow and synched with the seasons. Seasonal cycles remind me that our life plays out in similar cycles. Frenetically faster than the seasons, we go about the same tasks daily, some exciting, mostly mundane. We develop a routine. The routine establishes an order in some small part of our life, giving us hope of imposing order on all of it. Routine can stand as a bulwark against the chaos for some. For me, it sounds like slow death. Life is growth and change, often unpredictable and certainly beyond our ability to reduce to a set of pre-established routines like a computer program directing our lives.

I prefer to think of some of my repetitive tasks and activities as having a rhythm. This simple linguistic shift in thinking — substituting rhythm for routine —frees me up to dance my way through the drab parts of the day. So, I have a morning rhythm of rising and feeding the animals and other minor tasks to get me going in the morning. And when something changes up a little — an early appointment, a delayed dog-walk — it’s just a rhythmic improvisation rather than a break in routine.

I try to think of writing this blog like that as well. The moment I worry about writing a new post because it’s time for a new one, I feel the looming sense of “routine” crushing my creativity and motivation. If, instead, I think of the delay in producing new posts as just a hiccup in the rhythm, though, I can shift my attention to following the inherent rhythm  causing the delay. Why have I hesitated?

Because the rhythm has to be right.


About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
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2 Responses to Seasons & Cycles, Routines & Rhythms

  1. Jill Frazier says:

    Keep writing, Alan. I love the substitution of rhythm for routine.

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