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July 2006 - The Seasons

As we enjoy the first winter rains here in Perth, while my wife longs for sunshine in Wellington, it is hard to avoid appreciating how important seasonal change is. It is no accident that the words Season and Seasoning come from the same root, Latin for "seed time" or to "sow seeds". The impact of seasons crosses all facets of life. Even in the classical music world, Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" is among the most recorded and most purchased music.

Cooler evenings mean one can enjoy heartier meals - just imagine all those healthy French dishes! - with a glass or three of a big Cab Sav from the Clare valley or Barossa. And the desserts… ahhhh! The really lucky ones, of course, will be sitting in front of an open fire, with a glass of port and a few slices of cheese, savouring the repast - we'll skip the cigar! These simple pleasures in life cannot be enjoyed in the same way in the height of summer.

Winter is time for ruminating and pondering the big questions in life. As with nature, it is time to slow down and consider. Time to prepare for the onslaught that comes with Spring. As our lives change with the seasons, we are rejuvenated.

I wonder if we shouldn't apply similar principles in our working life? The lead up to the ASM is always frantic, no matter how well organised we may think we are. This is not unlike Spring, where new life struggles to develop and grow. Following the ASM there is a period to savour the successes of the ASM and regain some of the energy spent on preparing for the ASM - Summer? Next comes Autumn - time to plug the gaps in the work presented at the ASM and sow the seeds for the action of the coming Spring. Winter is the time to review, to secure the gains of the past Spring and Summer. Time to set the foundation for the next cycle. This is the season to take the work you presented at the ASM and turn it into papers.

Applying a seasonal concept to laboratory life can put a variety into place that means, while it might seem like drudgery writing your work up, you can look forward to the Spring that will follow. Similarly, as you wilt under the pressures of ASM preparation, you can look forward to a summer of relaxation. Perhaps, most importantly, establishing such a cycle will cultivate habits and, hopefully, might see more of your work being published. We all benefit from that.

Now where did I put that new bottle of port………..?


July, 2006




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