l was born in December. I came home from the hospital on Christmas Eve. I was the best gift to the family that year! Strangely enough, I never liked winter. It was cold and bleak. The sun goes down early in the day when you live in a place that has daylight savings time. I really disliked winter when I was working, and had to go home in the dark every day. I love sunshine. I tell everyone that I am solar. I have more energy on a sunny day.
As autumn is upon us and I see the leaves changing on the trees, the flowers slowing down and about ready to wilt from the first frost, I am thinking about winter. Living in the city, winter meant icy streets. After a nice clean snow, it all becomes dingy and dirty snow as our cars drive through the slush and kick it up on the roadside. It used to make me sad to see autumn. It was a precursor to the end of warm and sunny. It was like the signal of things dying. Although I am not a fan of these colder seasons, I know it is necessary for new life to regenerate. The old must die, and new life returns. It is a life cycle that will always be there.
Four years ago I moved to the country after getting married to my sweet husband. He retired to the country after working his whole career in busy cities running a railroad. Our home sits on a little lake or a large pond, however one wants to describe it. It is serene. I have found the winters serene. We have three fireplaces in our home, but I love the one in the living room the best—it is a wood burning fireplace. The living room has 16 windows and a double sliding glass door, so the sunlight shines in, and nature is right outside the window. In the winter, when it is really cold, we will build a fire and sit in the living room and watch the beauty out of doors. Dennis put a bird feeder on this property right past the deck. I can sit in the living room on a cold, snowy day and watch the abundance of birds come to feast on the suet and seeds. Of course, a few rude squirrels will try to chase the birds off so they can feast also. We have enough to share.
Summer is my favorite season, and that has not changed from when I lived in the city and moved to the country. I love the fact there is a pool out back and the lake behind it. I can swim, lay out, or paddle in the boat across the lovely little lake. In the summer, the abundance of trees make it is hard to see the neighbors’ homes that are around this small body of water. In the winter, I can see two of the homes.
As spring arrives, there are signs of trees budding, the spring flowers such as tulips, daffodils, and irises are popping out of the ground. Those flowers don’t last long like summer flowers, but they are some of my favorites. The April showers come, and bring moisture to the ground to allow the flowers to sprout to their beauty once again. It is a sign of new life. It is energizing. It fills my soul with hope for a new day.
When summer arrives, it is life at its fullest. Trees are rustling in the warm breezes, flowers are blooming, geese are swimming across the pond with their new babies. People are outside mowing their lawns, weeding their gardens, swimming, riding bikes, playing ball, and enjoying the warm of the season. Everyone is active. The bees are landing on the flowers sipping the nectar to produce the rich honey. You can hear children in the distance playing outside, laughing and just being kids.
It is the cycle of life. We are born like a new spring. Sprouting into this world, receiving love and nourishment to become young, active people with hopes and dreams. We run around in life as if the summer of our lives would last forever. We feel the sun shining on us all the way to our souls and we feel refreshed. As the years go by, our autumn comes upon us. It is still beautiful, but different. Like the leaves changing, our hair color may turn to white, a few wrinkles come along, and we may have a little more trouble moving along. It is just the slowing down of nature. But . . . it is beautiful in its own way. We delight in the beautiful changing of the leaves. Why don’t we delight in the beautiful changing of ourselves? It is a wonderful time of life. Slowing down, retiring from our busy work schedules to enjoy life as we wish it to be. As the winter of our life approaches, we will lose many of our friends before it’s our time. We will see the pain of our icy roads and lost leaves in our bodies not working as well as they did in the past. There is still a quiet beauty in these days. Those peaceful, snowy days are like the peaceful later days as we prepare to meet the one who created these life cycles.
I look at my life in the different seasons, and I see how it all fits together. My first years as a child and becoming an adult are like the spring of my life. I was young and full of energy. I was nourished with love, food, education, faith, and friends that helped me grow and become strong. Everything I encountered was new and fresh and I was excited to move on to the next steps in my life. As I moved into the summer of my life, I became a mom. Four little boys ran around the house and I relished in the aliveness that was around me. I also had a heavy drought in the summer of my life. It was my hardest years, and I thought I wasn’t going to survive, but everything came back to being, and life continued to go and grow. I moved into my loved career and continued thriving as I have moved into the autumn of my life. There is a slowing down. I am now retired. My hair has changed colors (but not fallen out, as have happened to some of the men!). I enjoy the coolness of season. I can reflect back on the earlier years of my life (childhood, young adulthood, parenthood, and my career) with fondness. These years have taught me many lessons and have made me the person I am today. I don’t know how long my autumn season will last. For some of my friends, the autumn and winter has taken them, for some autumn has been hard on them. But we will all be there. As I relish this time in my life, I know there will be a day, the winter of my life, when things will seem harsh and cold. I will not move around as easily as I do today. I will know that this is part of life as surely as the spring of my life was. As the winter of my life approaches, I will be looking forward to the spring of a new life for eternity, one that will be all the seasons and the best of all the seasons. I will have no regrets.
These seasons of life are all beautiful in their own way. Each cycle of life we encounter has its blessings and its problems, but it is what makes that season in life so special. I realize that I need to slow down and appreciate season I am in, and every season in my life as it comes and goes. Each season is so different. Just slow down and see the beauty in our lives as we go. Appreciate every encounter one has with others, what special times we have to connect and communicate. Appreciate the nature around us — the trees, every blade of grass, the animals, birds, flowers, even those pesky little bugs that run around on six legs. Embrace the creation we have been given. Understand that none of it is forever–it is ever changing in order to continually bring new life.
How are you enjoying and embracing each season of your life? What do you want to hold onto? What do you want to change? What beauty do you see as you think of the seasons in your life?