Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring. We can count on the seasons like clockwork to follow each other. We can compare and predict. “It’s going to be a harsh winter.” Or, “We had no Spring—went right into Summer.”
Life’s seasons, though, are non-linear. They may be sudden and random. And we can never predict their duration. The seasons become a metaphor, a symbol, for how our lives play out.
With the seasons of the year, we know what to expect. Every school kid knows the rotation as the seasons influence the curriculum. Elementary school students may visit a pumpkin patch or farm to buy anticipated jack-o’-lanterns. They often re-enact the story of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, then make paper snowflakes to paste on their windows. Later in the school year, as Spring approaches, they may plant small classroom gardens. Lessons in any subject may be enhanced by incorporating the seasons.
But with regard to life’s seasons, within days or even hours, we can experience every one. They often catch us by surprise, and though we deal with them, we may not see the seasons as a metaphor right then. That insight comes later, upon reflection.
Summer – When we are carefree and relaxed, when experiences, people, and places are welcomed and enjoyed.
Fall – We’re in contemplation and preparation, harvesting ideas or gathering things we’ll need to carry on. Or move forward.
Winter – Which we find challenging, even difficult, yet filled with blessings. Blessings that we may not see until Spring.
Spring – The season that always follows winter with light and new life, with hope, renewal, and possibilities. We catch our breath and consider the wonder and blessings Winter provided.
Life’s seasons may change as often or as fast as the Santa Ana winds. We wake up in Summer – all is great and we are happy. Life is going our way. Within hours, there’s a SNAFU and we feel the ice of Winter. Then we’re in Fall as we react, marshal our resources, figure out a plan and begin executing it. Sometimes, we must develop alternate ideas before we reach Spring. But soon Summer is on the way again, and we bask in its goodness.
There’s no prescribed time for moving through Life’s seasons. But, if we recognize them and realize they will change, we can endure and grow. We understand we don’t have to languish in Winter. We know that as night follows day, the Spring will come.