The great thing about living in Nashville is that we get all four seasons, but we don’t go crazy with any of the four. It gets cold in the winter, but not that cold and it doesn’t stay cold for too long. We get a few inches of snow, but not too much. My friends who have moved to Nashville from places further north always laugh at us because if we think it might snow, we declare a “Snow Day”, shut everything down, and head to the house. When they ask me to explain what a “snow day” is, I tell them to think about it like it’s a floating holiday. If we get too tired or too frustrated during the year, we yell, “Snow!” and head to the house.
To misquote Alan Jackson, “It’s snowing somewhere.”
Our summers are hot, but not that hot. Our springs are green and covered with colors exploding as nature comes back to life. And there’s pollen. Lots of pollen. If you’ve never had allergies and hay fever, you’ll have them here. Welcome to Middle Tennessee.
Falls are relaxing and melancholy. The changing colors of the leaves and the cool afternoons make you want to take long drives on Saturdays and long walks every other day.
Every now and then, we’ll miss one of our seasons and it’ll mess everything up. The winter won’t get quite cold enough to thin out the insects and the mosquitoes will be the size of small airplanes the following spring. Sometimes, fall won’t show up and one day, we’ll wake up with the weather already too cold and the trees bare and silent.
But for most years, the seasons show up on time and do their work. There are still enough farmers around the Nashville area to remind us of the importance of each season. Spring must be wet enough to loosen up the fields, but not too wet to delay planting. Summer must be hot and long, but not too hot and the heat has to be broken regularly by a soft, soaking rain. Hard rains run off too fast and pull off too much topsoil.
Fall should be cool enough to trigger the fruit of the trees to ripen and the wheat to push high enough to expose the heads of each stalk, so the combine can harvest the fields quickly and efficiently. We want autumn days long enough to get the work done, but short enough to encourage the work to be done quickly.
And then, there’s winter. Winter needs to be cold enough so roots go deep and sap goes low in the trees. It has to be cold enough for plants to die off and be plowed back into the ground to nourish the soil. Winter has important work to do and if it’s not a “good winter,” spring planting will be affected.
The wisest among us know that every person has seasons in their lives as well – although our personal seasons may or may not line up with the annual seasons of nature. The truth is, we have them just the same. According to Ecclesiastes, there’s a time for everything under heaven, and that means one of the most important things we can know about ourselves is what time it is for us.
We have spring when new adventures are started and summer when our plans become long, hot, and hard work. Fall is a time of celebrating the harvest of our work.
And there’s winter. Most of us don’t want it to be winter. We wish it would be spring and summer all the time. We want the sun to always be shining and our lives filled with new things that are being planted, growing, and blooming.
But nature has a word for things that won’t stop growing. Cancer.
Winter has its place and winter will do some important work – if we let it. Winter is a time of relaxation and recovery after the big project is done. It’s the moment when you step back and let the roots of your life grow deep and take the time to clear out those things in your life that have died away in the past year.
Winter is the time when we pay attention to what we’ve found to be true. It’s a time to let go of failures and regrets. Winter is a time to repair what’s broken and sharpen what’s grown dull. Winter isn’t a time of planting or harvesting. Winter isn’t a time to start new things.
Winter is a time to stop.
Winter is a time to get ready for the next big thing God has in store for you. Spring is coming. There’ll be new things to plant and tend. New fields to plow and harvest.
But right now, it’s winter. Winter has important work to do.
Let winter do its work.