The Four Seasons
There are four seasons where I live: cross country season, graduation season, empty nest season and Grandma season. Wedding season came upon us like an earthquake (or three) but the tectonic plates aren’t likely to shift again for some years. Where I live, sometimes the seasons all run together and one can’t tell if it’s really Fall or Indian Summer, early Spring or Winter’s last hurrah.
Cross country season is almost over for good. Our last-born runs for the last time on Saturday. No more bibs, chips, spikes or water bottles. No more warm-ups, cool downs or team dinners. No more pr’s, tears, color groups or Coach. Season’s over. Graduation season is fast approaching.
We’ve been through these life seasons before. With four children, one becomes accustomed to all the trappings of Senior year. Senior pictures. Graduation cap and gown ordered in mid October. The last concert. The last race. The last first day of school. The last walk of the halls of Suburbs High. By now, we know what the weather feels like and how to prepare for lumps in the throat and unexpected triggers to watery eyes. We know that college essays and AP scores pass, but Senioritis is a real storm to navigate.
I imagine empty nest season much like rainy season in far away exotic countries. It seems like the rain just won’t stop. Daily. For weeks and sometimes months. Like a monsoon. In those places, there are only two seasons: wet season and dry season. I can imagine empty nest will be met with tears that last a long time- that final grief that all of our children are grown and well, no longer children. Then, when one is not crying during wet season- it is dry season. Hot season. I don’t mean hot-flash-hot (although I’m also not ruling it out) but dry-hot. Parched and thirsty hot. The I-only-want-to-sit-still-in-air-conditioning kind of hot. That feeling one gets in extreme heat to not want to move a muscle, but to just be still. Still, and asking the hard questions that come when your children are no longer your direct responsibility and you can no longer sit in their youthful shade. With the heat comes a certain despondent acceptance that things will never be as they once were: seasons change.
Right in the mix of conflicting feelings of loss swirling around my senior, my graduate, my last born — Grandma season arrives. These little fruitful blooms arrive like spring dandelions turning from wishes in the wind to fistfuls of flowers on my kitchen counter. Hope springs eternal in Grandma season - the eternal spring. It’s fast becoming my favorite season of all.
But that’s the thing with seasons- be it winter, spring, summer or fall—sports, empty nest, grief, graduation or even a season of motherhood or grandmotherhood—seasons come and go. By definition, they are cyclical in nature. By a cursory explanation, they are temporary. Seasons time out. Yet, seasons always return like clock work.
If you live where I live, you know that winter will end. The groundhog may or may not see his shadow, but spring will come. Fall will bring your first fire and winter promises an icy chill.
Each one of our daughters was born in a different season and that theme has seemed to follow me into my art and writing. My first four Barn Paintings were set one in each season. Much of my poetry alludes to seasons of life. I coach my adult daughters to embrace the world cyclically, and to recognize the equinox changes in their lives.
Hope and healing from abuse came for me in seasons. There were seasons of grief, anger, counseling, motherhood, teaching and finding my voice. Healing still takes place in cyclical increments as I continue to embrace the dry heat, the monsoon rains, the flowers of spring and the winter freeze.
We all seem to pine for another season— wishing spring when winter gets long; wishing winter snow when December arrives; wishing summer tans and beach bodies when spring lingers and wishing fall when summer’s too hellishly hot.
Maybe you and I need to take the seasons as they come. Maybe we need to wish for other things besides a change of weather. Maybe we need to understand our growth from a gardener’s perspective and thank heaven for cold, rain, heat and harvest. Maybe we need to accept that seeds need to die to live again. Maybe we need to not fear the withering bloom.
A very wise man said, ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.’ King Solomon
The Great Season Giver is God. As you move through the aftermath of your hardships and sufferings, embrace seasonal living. Find hope and healing where you are now; not in some future time and space. Don’t wait for another loop around the sun. Whatever season you find yourself, greet what God is doing in you.
“He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”