On Friday morning I stepped outside to put some things into the recycling bin. This is something I do nearly every morning and regardless of the weather I usually go out in about the same attire – its just a few steps across the deck and it isn’t usually worth more than a flip flop’s worth of preparation.
I braced myself for a blast of chilly air and opened the door – as it turned out, it was about 65 degrees outside. It felt like I stepped out of my winter expectations right into the reality of spring. It was hard to go back inside, even with the promise of coffee!
A few minutes later, as I was texting with my friend, I said that didn’t think I could ever live some place that didn’t experience all 4 seasons; I just love the promise of a new thing always just around the corner. Every season has its wonders; miracles and metaphors. In the Spring we see rebirth, and in the Fall we see the beauty in letting go. The Summer is full of color and light, while Winter is full of mystery and potential.
Every season has its responsibilities; every season has its rest.
I took the above picture in November of 2019 after spending an afternoon cleaning up the wilted remains of summer and planting some bulbs to winter over for the spring. As I looked down with pride at what looked on the surface to be containers of dirt, a thought came to mind and I posted the image with this caption:
“It is amazing to me how different a successful day of gardening looks in the spring verses how it looks in the fall. A solid reminder, really, that success isn’t always in bloom.”
Just as the seasons we experience here on Earth come with different expectations for climate and growth; the seasons we pass through in our lives are no different. You would not expect a flower to bloom in the winter; you wouldn’t think that if it was just a little more committed – if it worked just a little bit harder – it could grow up through the frozen ground.
And yet, in the winter seasons of our lives, we expect so much more of ourselves than we do of the flower. We never allow ourselves rest; we refuse to accept a season of growth if it looks like relative dormancy on the surface.
But the thing is – we aren’t created to live in perpetual harvest. Your time spent planted in the rich soil of last season’s lessons is not failure. You need that darkness to see the spark of a new thing.
Back in November of 2019 there was more moving under the soil than would meet the eye. I was working in my yard that day because I was trying to get my head right after a particularly difficult weekend…and yet that season was actually the calm before the storm. The following winter was one of heartbreak and exhaustion, and I don’t think I need to tell you how the spring shaped up.
I think I do need to tell you that right before Easter, when it was time to produce and film music for Holy Week in my living room, those fall bulbs yielded spring tulips and hyacinths, right on time.