Albert Einstein once said that, “The only reason we have time is so everything doesn’t happen at once.”
I woke this morning to a light dusting of snow which, coupled with the thermometer reading of 39 degrees, serves to confirm that it is indeed winter. I relish the fullness of the seasons that come on their own time and are independent of man to guide them in or out. I think that in human beings, as in nature, ripeness and maturity have their own schedules which neither desire nor force can hurry. Just imagine if every season arrived full-blown on the equinox or solstice. One day it would be Winter , with all of the attendant chilly weather and then– BOOM!, next day Spring pops out with instant daffodils, tulips,chirping birds, and those mud-luscious puddles that enchanted the heart of e.e.cummings. We would miss the subtleties of the long slow creep from one season to the next and half of the wonder of the change would be lost. For me there is value in the wait. Learning to be fully present in these seasons, whether they are that of the natural world or the seasons of our own lives is a life-long adventure. In winter, the lushness of summer is but a memory. I am humbled by the strength of the storms and of the deep quiet and stillness in the wild places near my home. This time invites restoration and introspection; we are invited into the darkness as we wait for the light and open ourselves to growth. I love winter for these gifts and because I know it always leads to spring. Winter will pass off its snowy coat to spring and the circle will turn again.
This excerpt is from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran:
“In the depth of your hopes and desires
lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
and like seeds dreaming beneath the snow
your heart dreams of spring.”
Everything ages chronologically and some of us fare better than others relative to the internal and external expressions of that passing of time. Einstein also wrote that “time is relative”, and without getting into the physics of that statement, I will say that I have observed that its dimensions also vary depending on what or who is affected by it. As members of the human race, our projected time allotment differs vastly from that of an insect or that of a Giant Sequoia. I know that many of my beliefs and observations about life are rooted in the fundamental reality and convincing truth of nature. We cannot lock out all of the cold and unpleasant parts of winter any more than we can lock them out of our daily lives. If we try to manipulate or edit our world, we also lock out some of the beauty. All seasons are master-teachers at helping us practice patience, letting go and just learning to be at peace with what is. The goal for me is learning to live with the truth of myself as I hone my skill at seeing with my mind’s eye and listening with the ears of my heart. In winter I practice waiting in a time and space in nature that is not filled with color and activity. I think that this winter season invites us into a creative exploration of our inner selves where we are not so distracted by words, thoughts, and noise. The age-old challenges of the Land and the Weather make for two worthy testing grounds of our human spirit, for they demand a high degree of deliberation and patience with a both a huge potential cost and a redemptive promise for those who wait. So many things boil down to a simple matter of timing, don’t they?
May we all be seasonal pilgrims who come to each new turn of the circle of time with an awareness of and a deep gratitude for the preciousness of each new day.
The time is always NOW.