The seasons of a year come and go. In Autumn, days get shorter and temperatures fall. My favorite time of year brings the leaves into colors of reds, oranges and yellows. The breeze blows, causing leaves to sound drier under foot. Oak leaves turn brown, remaining green in southern states, falling to the ground later in the year. It’s the season to prepare to remember those who have died in years past. Hispanics celebrate El Dia De Los Muerte, the day of the dead, by going to cemeteries to decorate the graves of loved ones who have died in years past. They bring food and music, singing songs their cherished ones would remember. In churches, on the first Sunday of November, we celebrate All Saints Day, honoring those who have gone before us.
Thanksgiving, in Autumn, is a day for families to gather and give thanks for the past year, celebrating their thankfulness with great groaning tables laden with all kinds of our favorite foods. We stuff ourselves until we are groaning, because of overloaded tummies. Houses are filled with laughter and smells, recalling Thanksgivings past. This giving of thanks ushers in… Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas.
Winter and Advent arrive amid colder weather, high excitement, shopping, visiting, school and religious celebrations, all surrounding the arrival of Jesus and gift giving with families getting together, yet again. Chanukah and Christmas come, gifts are given and received and we nearly collapse from over consumption and fatigue… then we stumble awkwardly, into the New Year. This is also a favorite time of year.
Trees, sleeping in their structural purity without leaves and other adornment, are actually quite busy on the inside. I love this time of year as we keep a watchful eye on nature through the cold and windy months. Changes take place on tiny buds at the ends of branches, growing their pollen, seeds and flowers there. We take note of those buds turning pink and red, before they release that which is inside them. The wind begins to warm as the soil begins releasing the pungent smells hinting another change is on the way. Wait for it, listen…
Spring beckons, as song birds announce their arrival with a joyous cacophony of music, buzzing bees dart and flit among flowers releasing their sweet smell. Did I mention this is my favorite time of year? New life explodes with joy around us, a hectic time as new parents seek food for their hungry babies. Crickets and toads are romantic and joyful. It is a busy time, raising families and growing up to take your place among the throng. And then…
It gets hot! We pray for a cooling summer thunderstorm to wash the dust and heat away for just a little while. Food is abundant, making living in the wild a bit easier. There’s room to romp, wander, and wonder, time to bask in the sun and rest in the shade before we start all over again.
And soon, it’s autumn again. My favorite time of year. Lives are like years, there are times when it’s all fun and joy. Also, there are times of birth and death, times of coming together and times of leaving. All have their wonders and with each of the good times, there are times of adjustment and difficulty. Even when we feel most alone, we are surrounded by others in the midst of their lives. Some are beginning, others are at an end. It is common to all.
Love it. I do. I love all of it. It’s life. Full of, well everything. The seasons come and go and it is fascinating. It’s always interesting. We all change, all the time. Change is a constant and cannot be avoided. Change is woven into life and death. Fear it not.
The First Testament speaks of it quite eloquently. Here, I’ll share it with you from the New American Bible.
“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to give birth, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build.
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
There is a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them.
A time to embrace and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek 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 be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
What profit have workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to mortals to be busied about. God has made everything appropriate to its time, but has put the timeless into their hearts so they cannot find out, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.”