Growing up near my grandparents’ farm, I soon learned how the seasons of northwest Ohio guided and governed their lives. In summer months, I’d see my grandpa, uncle, and cousins out tending the fields during the long days of sunshine. They woke early on market days and settled to sleep soon after the sunset. Autumn brought the last busy weeks of harvesting and selling, with my grandma canning vegetables for their own larder, as she called it. I imagine they were relieved for the restful time that the winter season brought. And sometime near the end of February, my aunt would find my uncle poking around the soil of her houseplants, eager to get back to the garden!
For most of us, the changing seasons may have little impact on the way we live our days. We continue to work the same hours, rest and rise at the same times, and keep our usual routines. Could we be missing some of the ways these natural rhythms and cycles enhance our wellbeing? How might we benefit from treating the various aspects of our wellbeing in light of their seasons?
A brief self-survey revealed these seasons in me:
My body is aligned with the winter season, as the aches of aging increase. My bones hurt when the weather is cold, so I’m walking shorter distances. When I can, I love staying in my flannel pajamas a while longer or remaining at home after dinner as the early darkness sets in. When warmer weather returns, I’ll once again enjoy longer hikes and more time outdoors, and become more active and sociable in the evenings. Sometimes I’m tempted to walk too far or push myself too long, but I’m trying to honor my body’s need for a slower pace and warmer space!
Yet, other areas of my life seem to be in different seasons. As I learn more about writing and have more time to write, my creative season feels like summer – abundant, productive, flourishing. This is my summer season to tend and toil in this craft.
My daily routines look more like the autumn season. I’ve begun surrendering a few “leaves”, as I’ve retired from my job and volunteer ministry. I’m now busy filling my emotional and spiritual larder with mindfulness in my tasks, joy in homemaking, tender care for others. I notice my soul gently maturing, softening, releasing, for an eventual winter season, the resting time of old age and beyond.
And springtime? My grandchildren are sprouting fresh joy! I want to tend and nurture my grandmother role as a mentor and friend to my grandchildren. I want to savor my time with them, encourage and honor their parents, learn new ways to support them all.
Understanding the different seasons of ourselves will help guide our decisions for wellbeing. What aspects of our lives need the rest of a winter’s pause? How might we find more time for our summer areas of abundance and productivity? Do we have something to surrender and allow for new growth? Do we have something that needs our patience until its proper season? What might need just a few finishing touches to be ready for harvesting? What is our greatest need as we restock our larders?
Recognizing that some seasons are decided for us (for example, the year-long summertime schedule of careers, the unexpected winter rest of an illness), how might we balance ourselves in other areas? We can honor each different area of our wellbeing with the rhythms of its season.
Thank you, God, for the seasons of the earth and for the seasons of ourselves. Give us the wisdom to appreciate, attend to, and honor every season of our lives.
(Photos by Karen)
My heart is drawn to sunny climes,
the dawn comes up like thunder
to smilingly give surf’s up times
and fill the world will wonder.
Night comes late and isn’t long,
and a hammock is a bed
while a local sings a song
that echoes in my grateful head.
Don’t need very much to eat,
but the beachfront bar is near,
and this diet can’t be beat,
for it pizza and beer.
WinterSpringAndFall’s a bummer;
colour me a Boy of Summer.
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How do you write so creatively and quickly?? This is a sacred gift, Andrew.
Thanks always for the smiles and the inspiration. Yes, you are summer – and you bring sunshine to our lives.
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Karen, I am so honoured.
I’m actually writing through a malarial relapse. Spiking fevers and all that, including hallucinations . I saw Barb singing at church on their YouTube channel and absolutely could have sworn she was joined by a giant potato, and together sang the One Potato Two Potato song
And hey, if you’re interested in what I look like now, and sing like (No! Don’t run!) do drop by my current blog post.
Oh, I already had – and I commented on your post. 😂
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