I awoke early, extra yawns necessary early. The arrival of "fall back" and that glorious time change was different this year. Years past it's meant an extra hour of slumber tucked in my routine, a gift handed out at just the right moment with the dark evenings and all.
This year, not so. My two sweeties didn't get the memo about using the extra hour for more sleep and instead seized the opportunity as an extra hour for play. Waking early, eyes expectantly gazing up at me, like "Mama, aren't you ready to play?"
One particularly fine morning I noticed after a quick glance outside that the whole earth seemed different. Not as free-falling and floaty.....and it was then that I realized the first frost had come. I scooped up my big girl (while the little one still slept) and we went outside to explore. Me in my slippers, her clinging to my shoulder. Choosing not to dwell on the cold, icy drops clinging to my houndstooth patterned house shoes we trudged all the way over to the fence by the road. I'd noticed a sparkly sight and needed a closer look.
As each step brought us closer to the delicate sight I thought to myself that winter had shown up, nudging autumn along. I suppose I knew the time was coming. We've had afternoon after afternoon of leaves so gloriously colored I've looked like a tourist in my own backyard, snapping pictures, my head turning this way and that saying "Look at that girls! Isn't that beautiful?"
But still. Winter...now? I wasn't quite ready.
I imagined a conversation between autumn and winter.....each one knowing their own importance and dependence on one another. Autumn surely had to have known how glorious it had been this year. Autumn was rich, majestic, and sun-drenched. It was quiet, healing, rainy days.
Autumn relished every last bit of gumption it could stir to remind us what a feast for the eyes our world can contain. Heaven can truly be found among us, if even in just a brilliant yellow we spot on the ground among the brown leaves.
Winter conjures up images of too cold days and too dark nights. I've never been a firm believer of taking someone at first glance. I like to look further and then further still. Winter at least deserved the same chance. Winter is bare bones, gray, desolate. Or is it? I let my mind wander as we reached the fence.
Perhaps the cold, icy grip of winter arrives to teach us the raw truth that we can learn when all the fancy has flown away. To be grounded and rooted in a strength that will hold through whipping winds, frigid temperatures and months with seemingly no color outside. Snow...could you remind us of the clean, pure, fresh love we have from our Father on a daily basis. Showing us how we can shine like diamonds even in the midst of the dark.
Winter, I've realized, is like a blank canvas. A coloring page for what's to come. Spring will be here soon enough with wildflowers to distract for days. But for now, winter. Without it the spring wouldn't seem near as glorious. I've heard it said that fall is a fresh start, when things start over. I tend to disagree. To me, it's in the winter. It's in the quiet moments by the fire when we really have time to lean into our Father and think. To listen and let our souls be filled.
This season the message resonating over and over is "Spring is coming." I know the thoughts, deeds, and practices I focus on now will matter. When I'm tempted to crawl under the covers and hibernate 'till spring I'm reminded that God has things in store that only the time in winter can bring.
We are all so much like our ever-changing seasons, are we not?
Winter, come on in. Fill up my soul, teach my mind, awaken my heart to the dreams of Spring.