Seasons. I love some a lot. Others, not so much. Regardless of how I feel about them, they come and go. I remain.
Every New Year Down Under is neck deep in Summer. The day is bright-eyed awake by 4.30am and you can feel the kiss of the sun’s rays as early as 5am. The beach beckons and all colours, shapes & sizes of bikinis respond with alacrity. I love the longer days and enjoy the refreshing watermelon on a hot summer afternoon. The season ushers in the storms, some 42-43 degree scorchers, ants and bush fires. These, I dislike.
Autumn swings by just at that time we thought summer would never end. The warmth is turned down a notch or two but it doesn’t get too cold immediately. Much of the flowers go on leave so hay fever symptoms have just about eased. Red and burnt orange leaves colour the scenery and eventually begin to fall off. Nights begin to get cooler as a reminder that Autumn is to Winter what Sunday is to Monday.
Even though it might seem to tarry sometimes, by mid June, Winter is already in full blast. Brisbane doesn’t quite get below the occasional -3 but we still feel it’s freezing. I love the winter fashion – the boots, scarves, tights, gloves and the warm earthy colours. Don’t forget the soups and hot chocolates, but that’s about it. I don’t like the short days. My alarm is permanently upgraded from 5am to 6am and even by then the day is not yet quite stirred. Exercise is difficult because the quilt covers hang on to me with warm firm hands and it is quite easy to pile on a couple of kilos. The Flu arrives in different shades of green and kids are home more days than they are in school (I exaggerate)!
Spring arrives just in the nick of time to save me from the cold dark hands of Winter and the flowers bloom in celebration. Pretty much every store in town begins to sell seedlings and Pharmacies advertise their hay fever relievers. I love everything about this weather! The flowers, the blue skies, the sun that is not too hot, everything. Those that suffer from hay fever do have a burden this season.
It has been said that the different phases of life we experience can be likened to seasons and that we are wise to apply the analogies from nature to our lives. I believe this. I’ve experienced the Springtime, when new things bloom in my life and everything is rosie. A new marriage; a new car; falling pregnant; newborn babies; a new job; etc. Summertime, when things blossom and grow. A healthy family; swimmingly good job; flourishing business; etc. Autumn, when circumstances change a bit and might get a little uncomfortable just like the cold nippy morning air. Issues at work; anxiety about a contract; a sudden change in relationships; etc. Winter is my least favourite of life’s seasons. Loneliness; depression; unemployment; bouts of hopelessness; sickness; etc.
I am learning that each season has it’s blessings and burdens, much like the pros and cons of the natural seasons. In a time of financial hardship I learn to budget, make wiser financial decisions, be resilient, find smart alternatives and notice the subtle blessings of life. In a time of sickness I learn to treat my body with more care, to take things easy, and to live one day at a time. In a time of new beginnings I learn that it takes time, hard work and care for new seedlings to get established. In the growth season I learn to enjoy today, plan for the winter and remain sensitive towards those around me experiencing colder seasons.
One thing that has fascinated me though, is that most times, not all aspects of life are plunged into the same season at the same time. Therefore, although your health might be in Autumn, your family relationship might be in Summer; you might be experiencing a tough financial situation, but your health would be flourishing. So many times, we are actually experiencing the four seasons of life in one day. I find this quite comforting as it would be distressing if our health, and finances, and family, and relationship and job were all suffering at the same time. On a bad day, I could feel that the world is against me but when I take an honest stock of my life, I am reminded that there are other aspects of my life that are actually doing fine. Sometimes it’s a phone call from a best friend overseas. Sometimes it’s a cuddle from my kids. Other times it’s my favourite spot at home with the roof over my head, the lights on and a pot bubbling away on the stove. These and many more stick around during the hard times to comfort us, remove the sting from the bitter cold and help us learn the amazing life skill (much like bearing a fruit) called
Patience. I used to think that it meant “Wait”. But no, it actually means more than that. “
The quality of being patient is the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like
There are lessons to be learned and fruits to bear in all seasons. It is easy to be fruitful in easy times, but some fruit can only come in cold seasons. So, I’m grateful for all seasons (most times in hindsight) but I’m most particularly grateful for the mix of four seasons in a day.
I’m on a quest to flourish.