Winter’s coming



Back in 1962, when I was 11 years old, I spent the summer with my grandparents in a small paper mill town near Green Bay.

It was an idyllic time, right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

Life was so simple then.

We slept with the windows cracked open during those crisp Wisconsin nights.

We enjoyed homemade cobblers prepared with berries growing on bushes right next to the garage.

Every afternoon, my new friends and I swam in the shallow end of the town’s river.

I caught glimpses of the love between my elderly grandparents, glimpses which have endured and blessed me for over 60 years.

On the Fourth of July, I joined my grandparents as they walked down to the river’s edge to watch the fireworks.

In what was probably a decades-old tradition, they watched the ooh-and-aah show with their lifelong friends.

I was an observer in those days, and watched and listened a lot.

I remember hearing one of the women say, “Well, now winter’s coming.”

I think my eyes got pretty big at the thought. It was early July, and her words made no sense to me.

As we know, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Today, with just a tinge of fall in the morning air, I thought to myself, “Well, now winter’s coming.”

The words in Ecclesiastes remind us that there is a time for everything, including every season under the sun.

The Rule of Benedict reminds us that the Divine presence is everywhere, even during the darkness of the season of winter.

I have come to believe that we need to embrace each season and each of its gifts. I’m only beginning to do that with winter.

I have the warm socks and the hearty soup recipes, and I know to add more indoor light to my house; but I haven’t quite conquered the idea of savoring the quiet and the grey.

It’s a hard concept for a person nicknamed “HATS” by a dear friend: Hopelessly Addicted To Spring.

But I think that’s what I am called to do; to welcome and to admire the season of winter.

It helps when I remember the garden beds in winter and the sense of tranquility that is found there. I know my plants are resting and conserving energy until spring arrives.

I’m beginning to understand that winter is an important season of life for me, too.

After all, I’m the grandparent now; and I’m in the winter season of my life.

I need to understand and appreciate this season because it was divinely created. It comes with its own blessings, and I need to learn to lean into them.