It’s raining. Buckets. Raining. I am so ready for the slush and mush of what seems like break-up to be over – bring on the snow! The irony? As I am typing this, the rain is becoming a mix of snow and rain – more of that graupel stuff again! LOL!
And once again, I am moved by the rhythm of the seasons. When we lived in Southern California, we barely noticed. When we were searching for a home before we got married, some friends’ parents owned a rental. They offered it to us for very little money, to help us get started. We went to see it and were so impressed by the view of the local mountains, feeling like we were living closer to nature. Well, it was in November. The smog had backed off due to rain and things were gloriously green. Little did we know we would not see those mountains again until the following November! Why?? Smog. And the heat of Southern California. We had some feeling of season, but not like what I have come to experience as I have grown older, and moved further north.
One of the amazing things about living in a state where you truly experience the movement of the seasons, is the slowing down of the world as winter approaches. We first experienced a true fall in the glorious northwest of Washington state. It was the first time in my life I had to pull over in order to disengage my windshield wipers from the myriad-colored fall leaves that had clogged them up! I could not see where I was going because the leaves were falling as fast as the rain drops. Wow. And the colors!! I fell in love with Autumn in Washington state. I had never understood fall in SoCal, but in the Pacific Northwest, it all made sense.
And since moving to Alaska, I can share that fall here is amazing. Short. But amazing. The colors astound me. The drop in temperature is so wonderful. Truly. When I go to this particular store up here, I always end up taking off as many layers as I can (coats, sweaters, scarfs, gloves) because it gets so warm inside. And when I step outside into the cool air, I take a deep breath and I just relax. It is amazing!!! And the skies here are glorious. My mom loves to tell us (over and over again) how her grandfather and she would lay on the grass and look at the clouds, labeling this or that. And she is constantly pointing to the sky, calling out shapes to us. It is wonderful to share it with her.
And now is the time we await the stillness, the peace, of winter. So many people I know fear the cold. They say they would not be able to live where it snows. It makes me sad for them, denying themselves the experience of a deep winter. I look forward to it every year. We hunker down; we stay together as families; we venture out into the fun of playing in the snow; we see vistas that remind us of our God. The stillness and quiet of a snowy day is something that has been proven by science. But for me, it is a moment where my heart, mind, and soul become still. Where I gather myself and repair myself in the stillness of the snow season. We enjoy all the many activities of winter. Christmas is glorious amongst all the snow. Decorations look that much more amazing. We don’t hang plastic, fake icicles…we have the real ones hanging off our roof. We don’t need to spray on “flocking” because all the trees are white with snow. The love of winter is something I wish I could truly share with those who fear it, or who fear the cold. One year, some friends had a New Year’s Eve party. It was one of the best New Year’s of my life. We enjoyed great food and good company. And then we trudged through the snow to a local peak, where they shot off fireworks in the cold, snowy evening. Yes, I was cold because I did not know fireworks were a part of the celebration – my feet were wet and the shoes I wore permanently squeaked from that night until they fell apart. But I trudged through and I watched those snowy fireworks and enjoyed every moment of it. I wish I could post my little video of it for you!!
And now we wait. The rain turned back into that slushy mess again. My grandson is down with the flu. It’s birthday weekend, but it’s on hold for sickness. The hubby is getting ready for a marathon travel of almost 3 weeks, starting on Monday. And the seasons are moving forward. I got these amazing Weather Tech liners for my car, preparing for winter. (So excited to not have wet carpet in the car any more!! It’s the little things). And I look at my gel clings of Autumn and cannot wait to change them out for winter decor.
Our lives move like this. Spring is when life is celebrated. New life; regenerated life (Easter). We then go to those long, hot days of summer and enjoy the sunshine and water and being outdoors (sound like your teenagers??). And we slow down as school goes back in session, the leaves start falling and we calm down (I think of it as middle age). And as we prepare for winter, I am reminded we all head into our own personal winter. We slow way down and we spend more time thinking about life and preparing ourselves for our winter, our slow down, our ending. But it can be beautiful. It can be peaceful and quiet, and so lovely. I am prayerful I will gleefully walk towards my own winter, my own ending, knowing that Our Lord awaits me. And as I type now, little white flakes are falling again. Winter is trying to be here. I am ready; I think. Are each of us prepared for our own, personal winter? Do not be afraid of the seasons of life, including the cold and snow of winter.
For some reason, a little Douay Rheims’ version of Ecclesiastes (V3) just fits. I hope you agree.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?”
Winter and snow – bring it on! It is time.