the in-between season

as seasons transition, they leave some evidence that they have been there and bring beauty for what comes next

I am guilty of drinking pumpkin spice in August and wearing sandals in March. People roll their eyes at me and blame climate change on my preemptive coffee creamers. I am totally okay with it.

As seasons transitions, I am always eager to jump ahead to the next one. My mind romanticizes all the things that come with the next season and files the current season away as a lesson learned and a memory to later look back upon.

This year, the transition to the next season just seems to be taking longer. Maybe it is because we are slowing down our schedules and can feel the days move along, or maybe it is the weather pattern. Weather science will never be my thing. But, this in-between season is just dragging on. and on. and on.

I live in the woods in northern Minnesota. Typically, come December, we are deep in snow and cold. In fairness, we did have eight inches of snow in mid-October, so thinking that winter was coming early was actually a rational thought. Today, though, it was 42 degrees and my down jacket seemed quite excessive. As I walked outside, I was drawn to the transition from fall to winter and how the stillness reveals even more to the season. It made me think, as we are rushing this year to an end, what else do we still have to learn from this season?

This season, not fall or winter, but this overarching season of ick, has a purpose and a lesson to be learned. I imagine that we have many, many lessons to learn from this season. Have we been intentional in pausing to think about the lessons we have learned and using this as an opportunity to grow? Are we going to let this stretching, suffering, challenging be in vain by not learning the lessons presented to us? Either way, we are sitting through the season, so we might as well make sure it is not a waste.

I think we have learned the value of community. We need community. We need people to walk beside and share in our joys and our sorrows. I hope we move forward with a deeper appreciation for the people we get to do life with.

I think we have learned that we need our neighbors. We need our neighbors to be respectful and responsible because the choices of our neighbors directly impacts us. We are all ridiculously linked together.

I think we learned that everyone is essential, in varying ways. Let me be very clear that the medical professionals, first responders, and scientists are AMAZING and we can never properly show our gratitude for their work on the front lines of this pandemic. I also do think we have learned that we also need the grocery store employees to stock shelves and pick our groceries. We have learned that truck drivers are incredibly necessary to ensuring that we have toilet paper at home. We have learned that custodial staff are vital to keeping our public spaces clean and safe. We have learned that schools not only offer education but also food, mental health services, security, and childcare for millions of children every day. We have learned that our economy and society cannot properly function without everyone participating in life. As it turns out, everyone is essential to their families and our community.

I think we have learned that less is totally okay. Less on our calendars, less hustle, less to tackle. Less can happen and we can still be content. With a slowing of our lives, we have been able to appreciate the things we do have together so much more, as we are not already planning the next thing. (Again, with the way I move seasons along because I am too busy to appreciate the one I am in.)

I hope we have learned how important the people we share our home with are to our lives. I hope we’ve taken enough of this time together to really see their hearts and make the most of the time we have together. I do not think it is possible to ever make the most of anything because really, my mind spins to what I did not do or that there could always be more, but I hope, really hope, that the people I share this home with can look back at this time with some bits of fondness for all the time we have had together.

I think we learned that even as everything seems to be crashing down, the seasons do keep on changing. We are entering our fourth season in a pandemic. Even though everything else shut down,

the snow did melt,

the mud did come,

the grass and the flowers grew,

the leaves fell,

and now we await the snow.

There is some peace in knowing that eventually the season will transition. Eventually this season of ick will be over.

As with season change, they happen slowly and always leave evidence from before. Every summer, we find our previous Christmas tree, brown and lifeless, propped in our woods, waiting to be burnt. Seasons leave proof of their existence, so that we have a marker and can be a witness to the experience. What will be the markers left behind from this season? Will we remember the lessons it taught us? Will we be a witness to what we have learned?

What were the lessons that we are being taught during this season? Did we learn them all?

Before we can finish this season well, we have to remember its purpose, learn the lessons, and then move forward with little pieces of evidence for having been through the season. There is a purpose to this transition going so slow.

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