For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest [Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 (NLT)]
While some might groan, others may cheer on this the first day of winter. I remember being asked my favorite season and, since we were skiing in the mountains at the time, I said it was winter. I loved it for the powder days on the slopes, pines laden with snow cookies, and aspens glistening with hoarfrost. Winter meant snuggling by the fire with a hot drink while watching the snow fall and the wind blow the trees. Then, I remembered that winter brings shoveling, cleaning off the car, cold toes, drippy noses, falling on the ice, and heating bills so I quickly changed my answer.
Perhaps spring was the favorite—the snow starts to melt, song birds reappear, snowbells and crocuses peek out of the ground, coats and boots are shed, and we again feel the sun’s warmth. Then I remembered the crowds and traffic jams of spring break, rain, mud, spring cleaning, and tax day! Summer was a possibility with its peonies, peaches, butterflies, sandals, tank tops and lazy days at the lake. Then again, summer brings mosquitoes, allergies, humidity, weeding, mowing, and tornadoes. When I remembered the autumn colors, the cranes and geese gathering before migration, Thanksgiving dinner, and the sound of leaves rustling while walking through the woods, I thought my answer should be autumn except for the box elder bugs, gloomy days, leaf raking, more allergies, and hurricanes.
Years later, I’m still unable to give a decisive answer to which is my favorite season; I hope to never see it as one of those problematic online security questions. Fortunately, with the passing of each year, we get to return to all the things we like about a season and, when we tire of that season’s challenges, we know a new season will arrive within a few months’ time.
Unlike the calendar’s seasons, we only get one spring, summer, fall and winter in life. Unfortunately, much of our time in any season often is spent trying to move into the next or return to the previous one. The four-year old proudly tells you she’ll be five at her next birthday and, the day she turns fifteen, she claims to be almost sixteen. She may be OK with being twenty-two but she drags her heels as thirty approaches. Trying to hold the next season at bay, she “recently turned forty” at forty-five and, when the invitation to join AARP arrives at fifty, she bursts into tears. By sixty, she looks longingly at the clothes she used to wear a decade earlier, hates having her picture taken, and refuses to share her age. It’s not until her nineties that she again brags about how old she’ll be at her next birthday.
While we know the date and length of the calendar’s seasons, we have no such knowledge of our own personal seasons. My mother-in-law, at 101, is enjoying a lengthy winter; my mother died at 47 and had none. In answer to that question about a favorite season, perhaps the wisest answer is that our favorite season is the one we’re in! We can’t recapture yesterday and tomorrow comes way too quickly so let us thankfully and joyfully accept our today.
It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had. [Elizabeth Kübler Ross]