Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Seven inches of snow fell upon our lovely home of Centennial, Colorado last Sunday. Twenty-four hours earlier Noah and I were driving to Chucky Cheese and calling out all the different colors of the leaves on trees lining the streets as they sang songs of metamorphosis.
“Green. Dark purple.”
We drove down the same street to go to church. The trees and bushes now sang winter wonderland tunes, all in the key of white.
Seasons are new for me. We moved to Colorado last December from the sunny paradise of San Diego. In California, the calendar notified us of the changes of seasons with labels reading “First day of winter,” “First day of spring.” But the trees, the bushes, the sky sang nothing but a sweet song of sunshine. I liked that music, too. It was in my Ipod and made me walk faster when I exercised.
But variety in the weather and the feel of the air has brought pensive thoughts. No one has ever accused me of being a deep thinker but nature does that to a person. I think Colorado and its seasons have taught me the lesson of letting go. San Diego never could.
Moving is difficult. Ask anyone who has had to pack their belongings, turn off the utilities and say goodbye to their friends. It is a kind of chronic pain that stings like grief. At our going away party I began to cry at the very end and I felt this throbbing of my heart. At the airport when I hugged my friend Stacey goodbye my heart felt like it was torn, a scraped knee that only bled slightly but hurt badly. I thought those moments were the worst of it. I was wrong. The adjustment to a new home and place and people was excruciating and brought new pain sporadically. During the past ten months, I have had fleeting thoughts that my life in Colorado was a vacation. Soon, I would be back home under that glaring friend of mine, the sun.
Last winter was a shock to my system. Within a week of having all of our furniture moved into our new home, a blizzard hit Denver and we were surrounded by walls of snow. We couldn’t see our cars in the parking lot because they were literally buried. I wrote a lot and that saved me, plus the incredible love of my sister-in-law Lory and my brother Phil, Coloradoans for years. One day, the temperature was 0 degrees and Noah had to go to school. I called Lory.
“Lory it is 0 degrees. I can’t let Noah go out in this.”
“Robbie, calm down. He has a coat and gloves, right?”
“Yes, but it is 0 degrees! I can’t do it.”
“Keep him home. But listen, this can’t happen again. You are in Colorado. You have to keep living your life, even if it is cold.”
Eventually, I ventured out and the snow and ice became normal to me, like neighbors who might seem a little odd at first but after a while are no big deal.
Spring glided in and the beauty of the area we live in began to appear to me in little snapshots of life. I would go to the grocery store and witness colors of flowers and trees budding. We began to travel around Colorado as a family and I saw the beauty of Estes Park and Golden. After we toured Wild Bill Hickock’s museum and grave we stood on a mountainside with a breathtaking view. The three of us played a game to see who could see the farthest. I breathed easier in spring.
Summer was a party. Noah and I splashed at the pool almost every day. The warm days beckoned me to sit underneath my old friend and purr like a cat and take lazy naps. The sky began to call my name. I began to look up and I noticed that the sky seemed nearer here, closer, like it wanted to get to know me. It whispered my name so often I began to look up and just stare. The stars at night were so close. The expanse of the blue in the day was almost too blue.
Fall fell into my heart. This time I was looking for the change. Waiting for it, almost expectantly. I knew that the plants would talk to me as if I was the Dr. Doolittle of botany. They did. Walking Scooby around early in the morning became a delight and as I breathed in the air my lungs filled up with chill and my soul filled up with hope. The autumn leaves crunched beneath his little paws and my tennis shoes and the colors made me think we were walking on a Jackson Pollack painting.
So yesterday it snowed. Change again calls to me. But as I walk through the cold, grateful for my hat and scarf, I am no longer questioning and clinging to the things of the past. My California sun will always be a good friend. I cherish the time I scribbled in my journal sitting under those solar rays, watching the Pacific Ocean lap upon the sand beneath my feet, playing a game of water tag with my toes.
But I have let go.
The seasons offer a glimpse of the brevity of pain and joy. God, as He often does, offers a great lesson about living through these cycles of nature. Nothing lasts forever.
When I was in a very trying season with Noah in his second year of life, I would call my sister Karen and cry, “Give me some wisdom.”
She offered, “This, too, shall pass.”
It did. And so did those precious moments when he was a giggling four-year-old and then a shy kindergartener and a first time soccer player. It all passes.
I got sweet news the other day that a friend who has not worked in a while got a job. It has been a season of waiting for him. A painful one. I pray each day for another friend who is hurting. She wants to get pregnant so badly, but it hasn’t happened yet. A difficult season. My sister is doing quite well after battling breast cancer last year. She is living in a season of fresh gratitude.
I find myself in a season of growth. Right now I guess you might say my life is at that point where the seed is breaking through the soil trying to stretch out its little tendrils to reach for the sun. Tunneling through dirt gets messy.
But change only hurts if I refuse to welcome it. Refusing to accept the season that we find ourselves in is akin to closing our eyes and wishing that summer would come in the winter. It is pointless. We are not in control of the seasons of nature or life. God, the weaver of the intricate tapestry of life, is the ultimate Potentate.
God has used these Colorado seasons to teach me the sweet lesson of moving on. He gave me deep pleasure when I chose to embrace the Colorado sun and the cool spring air. I found laughter in the summer splashes of fun and hope in the autumn leaves splattering their colors on the ground. Now the white drops of winter bring no fear. Just change.