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/)

Celebrating during Covid-19

Welcome to another week of mittonmusings. Things are finally starting to open back up again and life is returning to our “new normal”. That seems like a strange notion to return to, but most of us have never been through a worldwide pandemic, and so we go with whatever the powers that be tell us. Which includes this whole idea of social distancing and isolating ourselves from others — especially the “vulnerable” ones in our society. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all for safety and am a big believer in following the rules, but I couldn’t help but wonder this week: What will all this isolation do to our sense of celebration?

The middle kid celebrated his birthday this week. We’ve already celebrated two other birthdays in lockdown, and, of course, Father’s Day was this past Sunday. We were supposed to have a graduation, too, at the end of the month. Many of our normal celebratory gatherings and rituals have been cancelled. And yet, I have seen so many creative ways to mark special occasions in spite of lockdown. So, what does one do to mark a memorable day? Why do we do it that way or this way? Does it reflect the people celebrating or is it to mark the celebration itself? It’s interesting to ponder — especially as an introvert. I’m not much for celebrating, and we have a family debate each time a special date rolls around. Please feel free to comment on your thoughts to help the case one way or another. But as for me, I think about things. The reasons we do things — why and how, and then why “that how”? I get it. Humans were created to be social. We need each other and were created for interaction. One look at how Covid-19 has panned out and we see it. Just watch the news for awhile and we will see that we are geared to fight and protest and share joys and sorrows and injustice. Even if it is over zoom or from the balcony ledge. Forget the news… any kindergarten class will show you those things, too.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

According to Seline Shenoy (The Dream Catcher/ Happiness Project) there are five benefits to celebrating:

  • 1.Cultivating a sense of community: One of the most opportune times to bond with our families and friends is during special occasions.
  • 2. Instilling a sense of meaning and significance to our lives:  Participating in the customary rites (cutting cakes and drinking champagne) instills a sense of reverence and appreciation for the gift of life and connects us to a more omnipotent force.
  • 3. We will create lasting fond memories: The human mind tends to recall memories that carry a high emotional charge to them. When we commemorate a special occasion, we are essentially placing a mental bookmark on an experience, thereby making it easier to remember it in the future.
  • 4. It adds fun and excitement to our lives: Celebrations can be incredibly fun and provides us with the perfect opportunity to engage in the joys of life such dance, song, food, play and laughter. 
  • 5. We take our place in the circle of life: When we commemorate special occasions, we are essentially connecting with our humanity and the commonality that we share with all those who have been long gone before us. We tap into the timelessness of the human spirit when we take the time to pay respect to the important rites of passages that were celebrated by our ancestors in the yester years.

I don’t know if I agree with all of the five reasons, but I suspect sociologists and psychologists have been studying the whole idea for longer than I have, so who’s to argue? Besides, I love a good piece of cake. And my scrapbooks are filled with memories shared, so it must mean something. I think God just wired us that way, so that’s life.

I couldn’t help but find our past week of celebrations a little strange though, considering the times we were in: masked family, no hugging, keeping our distances … can you celebrate without the physical connection? Obviously, you can. We’ve participated in a virtual wedding and drive by birthdays this year. We “celebrated” — but it was strange. Did we miss out on some sort of secret? Or is it simply strange because it wasn’t the way we are used to doing things?

Sigh. I guess this muse has truly been that — a muse. I don’t have any answers this week. No insights or revelations. I’m simply pondering. Would you consider sharing your thoughts in the comments or on my socials this week? I’m curious what you might be thinking. How do you choose to celebrate? Why? Did God instill it in us? How has history played a roll? Or culture, tradition or socio-economic status? And what will it look like going forward from here?!