Seasons of Change

As many of you know, our little urban garden is up and running again. Thanks to lockdown and Covid-19, we were ahead of our game and started seeds indoors this year. As always, there are learning curves with such things and we’ve had various degrees of success. Traditionally, the long weekend in May is a fairly “safe” time to transition seedlings to outside. So, last week we did just that… off our little seed babies went into the ground with high hopes of bountiful growth. And then it snowed.

Frost damage on Corn crop (photo from agriculture.com)

I see my neighbour (who has a beautiful garden) promptly shielded her tomatoes with warming pots. A seasoned farmer I follow on Instagram threw tarps over her raised beds in a last ditched effort to protect her asparagus that finally will be big enough to harvest after waiting for three long years. We did not. Our second attempt at scraggly corn shoots look very shriveled. The others may survive with a little prayer and a lot of hope.

“Farming” is a risky business. I recently searched out what our “growing zone” is, as this seems to be a fact I should know. The website starts out with “…To determine zone number, Canada uses a formula that consists of 7 climate variables. Canada‚Äôs hardiness map is divided into 9 zones…” and continues on for about 9 paragraphs and ends with “…website includes several links intended to clarify the hardiness zones, but which seem instead to be very complicated and confusing.” 1 Ya think?? Hats off to the men and women who make their livelihood on the whims of the weather and their wage on the likelihood of storms and forest fires. They say that in Canada, we can have all four seasons in one week… and it is true. Weather is unpredictable. Life is unpredictable too.

Which had me musing about the seasons of life this week. Psychology tells us there are “stages” we go through in our average life span — seasons of growth and development, seasons of change. Many of you have eluded to these in your comments as we muse along together. That’s the beauty of exploring and sharing our faith journeys, too… we encourage each other as we go. The scriptures are scattered with references, not only to the physical four seasons we see throughout the year, but also in our “spiritual seasons” as well. God reminds us through nature how our world is in constant change… and He designed it that way.

I often question: why? Why did He design it that way? Why do things have to change? Why do we have to grown old? Why has He allowed the corona virus to infect the world at this moment? Why did He choose to come to earth at the moment He did? What will the future hold for us? Seasons of bitter cold, and seasons of preparation, growth and warmth. Each season holds something to offer, but none of them are ever perfect. Weeds grow just as rapidly in summer as the sunflowers do. Yet, the constant through it all is God alone. James 1:17 tells us there is no variation or shadow of change in the Father. We can take courage in this thought. Even in the midst of life’s seasonal changes.

My zinnias (a first time plant for me!) have sprouted cute little dichotomous leaves all tucked up in a row. I’m not sure how the frost will affect them. I’m also not sure what life will hold for us in the next year, or the next month, or even this week ahead… but we move forward through the season, and grow and adapt just as God designed it to be. As will you. Blessings fellow seedlings!

  1. (2020, https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/plant-hardiness-zones/)

“Weather” – Or Not

There is a tree that stands just outside our front lawn. It is completely devoid of growth right now and looks barren and forlorn. The leaves are all gone and it is preparing for winter. There have been ads on the radio to remind us that it is time to change into our snow tires. I bought a new winter jacket and snowpants for my daughter today. But I am still wearing sandals on my feet! Our eldest is on the opposite end of the earth right now getting ready for summer! (Wanna read more about my sandals or my son’s adventures? Check out those posts here and here!) Alas, we Canadians are no strangers to weird weather. All four seasons can happen within the same week — and we embrace it! We’ve turned our clocks back this weekend, and put away our gardens, but we hold out for the sunny days of fall and relish the drawbacks of climate change. If you live here, you understand.

photo: quickmeme.com

If you don’t live here and are burdened with tropical sunshine all year long… I’m feeling slightly sorry for you. You will never experience the joy of riding in your car with the butt (seat) warmers on and flip flops on your feet as you drive through the school pick up line. You will more than likely, never have to remind your kids to wear their “toque” and gloves in the morning, only to see them arrive home from school in their gym shorts and t-shirts. You will never have to scrape 6 inches of ice from your lock-frozened vehicle and sweat to death in a classroom whose school boiler is positioned just below their cloakroom. So sorry you have to have only pretty sundresses to wear on special occasions — that don’t have to match your parka. Poor you.

We Canadians are known for our weather. And for how much we talk about it. We love to start our conversations with weather. Be it great weather — or how miserable we are because of what is happening outside at any given moment. We changed our clocks for daylight savings recently … which gave us more excuses to blather on about how we need to adjust to “the time change” and the darkness that envelops us this time of year. Now don’t get me wrong… it’s a real thing… our beings are affected by weather. Which has me musing…

I wonder why we have weather. I wonder why we have seasons and fluxuations and weird temperature changes and storms and natural disasters. Technically, I know why. Without debating the theologies of pre-flood paradise theories, and how sin caused climate change and how environmental disasters are heating up the planet — work with me for a minute — and just take weather for it’s basics. Rain and the sun make the flowers grow. Snow blankets the land allowing for sabbath rest before energy is needed for new life. Winds cleanse the landscape and shape it. Wildlife flourishes in its own environmental element and adapts perfectly to its own space.

Kinda sounds like life, eh? I think God gave us weather as an example of how life ebbs and flows from day to day. We have seasons of growth, and we have seasons of sabbath winter rest. Storms blow in and ravish the land in order to shape and mold it for new growth. Temperatures rise in our lives and we are full of passion and fire. Other times we are cold and indifferent. Sometimes all four seasons seem to come to us in the same week.

It’s no wonder the disciples marveled at Jesus’ reaction to the weather in Mark 4. “Are you not afraid of this storm?” “Don’t you care if we drown?” We ask ourselves the same questions. “Don’t you see what is happening to us down here?” Ahhh… and then the kicker my friends: Jesus rebukes the wind, and calms the storm. Of course we talk about the weather so much! Our human minds are frail, weak and questioning. Our faith is small. We still haven’t learned to trust in the Master and His words. We don’t recognize that He is in control of the ebb and flow of life. Weather — or not.