Friday, August 15, 2008

"And A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven"

The long summer evenings of June and July have abruptly transformed into the early, almost palpable darkness of August. It is 9:00 as I write, and the house is enveloped in the deep moist coolness of an August evening. Its quiet, although broken by the trilling of insects, settles around me, soothing away the trials of the day. I am reminded that "To everything there is a season."

August is the season of harvest. The farmers' markets and roadside stands are brimming with sweet corn, colorful squash, eggplant, and ripe, red tomatoes. Anyone who has tasted the crunchy sweetness of freshly picked corn or the succulence of a sun-warmed tomato does not have to be convinced to "buy locally." Vegetables and fruit all have their season, and an ear of corn bought in January from the grocery store does not really taste like corn as we know it in August.

The flowers in my garden also have their season. The breathtaking roses of June are long gone now, and my late summer hydrangeas, zinnias, and muskily sweet phlox have taken their place. The ferns which graced the pond with their green lace just a week or two ago are slowly fading in vibrancy. The black walnuts are falling to the ground, to be picked up by the industrious squirrels who know that a long winter is not far off.

Just as in nature, women's lives are marked by seasons, also. The carefree days of childhood are followed by the busy season of creating homes and raising children. Once the children are grown, we enjoy a season of renewal -- we have time to reassess our lives and get to know ourselves again. Just as we have gotten used to this season of self awareness and freedom, we become grandmothers, and a new and exciting season of loving begins.

How boring life would be if it were static -- the sameness would wear us down. We would not appreciate the sumptuous bounty of August if we did not first know the starkness of winter. We would not appreciate the laughter and joy of life if we never experienced its sadness and grief.

As I sit by the window in the August darkness, and remember the long bright twilights of the summer solstice, which I also loved, I am thankful for these lovely seasons in nature and in life -- what blessings we are given, if we only appreciate them.

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