Blooming snowdrops flowers covered by snow

Photo by Guzowski

An icy mix of rain, sleet, and snow was falling when I entered my dentist’s office. The hygienist greeted me with a cheery, “April showers bring May flowers!”

“Even snow showers?” I asked.

“Well, maybe global warming will do away with the snow,” she said.

I pondered how my home state of Indiana would look without snow. Seems to me that the changing seasons bring us various kinds of beauty–including snow!–that I don’t want to be deprived of, even if I have to shovel my sidewalk now and then. I accept the fact that seasons change, as do many other aspects of our world, and I’ve learned that change can be a good thing. In fact, it can be a divinely blessed thing.

When foreign invaders crushed Jerusalem and carried God’s people into slavery, the prophet Daniel prayed:

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
             wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
             he deposes kings and raises up others (Dan. 2:20-21).

God used the years of Exile to draw his people back to himself and strengthen their faith for the future. That renewal was worthy of praise!

Some say that God does not cause change, whether it’s seasonal change or regime change. I don’t know. However, I believe the most radical change cannot thwart God’s intentions and often expedites them. Change can bring us fresh perspectives and force us to try solutions we might have ignored if everything “stayed put.”

So I don’t wish that things will never change. They will anyway—and God may bless us more as a result.

Golden sunlight blankets the yard of my back-door neighbor, where an aspen tree has already begun sprinkling its burley-orange leaves across the grass. A whisper of breeze flutters its garment and a few more autumnal sequins tumble to the ground.

His maples stand resolute, tight grasping their emerald-green foliage until frost makes their courage blanch. Then a red-and-yellow cascade will begin and, in just a couple of weeks, their tawny limbs will be bare. If the aspen follows its usual slow slide into winter sleep, though, it will grudgingly yield its last brown tatters to December snow.

A pale blue sky stretches overhead. Soon roiling banks of charcoal will sweep in from Canada, smothering  October’s sun with sleet and rain. Soon. Too soon.

Wind, rain, and hail last night announced the arrival of autumn in central Indiana. A blustery west wind drives brown and yellow maple leaves past my window this afternoon. Clearly, this will be one of the abrupt season changes that Hoosiers  expect and prepare for.

Months ago, one neighbor stacked a rick of firewood against the chain-link fence we share. Now checked and gray, those logs are ready to heat his family room through the winter.

Barbeque grills and canvas chairs disappeared from nearby patios well before Labor Day, and another neighbor gives his concrete slab a final dust-up with his broom. It’s not too hard to imagine a blanket of snow covering it soon.

I wonder whether people in temperate climates such as ours eventually develop an instinct for preparation, like migratory birds. We seem to know when it’s time to stockpile, cover, and bring our summer gear inside, well before the weather itself changes.

My wife will tell you that, if such a primal instinct does exist, men like me have learned how to ignore it. But such exceptions need not disprove the theory. In fact, our existence may simply confirm that another species is evolving–homo procrastinus.

Golden February sunlight casts long shadows across the lawn this afternoon. The weather has been so balmy for the past month that it doesn’t seem like winter at all. Buds on the ornamental pear are swelling to burst and mallards are staking their claim to ponds along Sand Creek. Temperatures dropped  under a clear sky last night, so our pond had a skin of ice again this morning, but I fear that spring may yet be born prematurely.

“Time out of joint,” Shakespeare would have called this. Seasons deranged. March arrives in two weeks, according to the calendar, but Indiana’s weather observes the dictates of no one’s calendar this year.

I am but a spectator to nature’s convoluted plot. Will it turn out tragedy? comedy? or farce? If I need sunglasses in February, should I buy an ice scraper for May? I can only wait for the next act to unfold, conscious again that God is sovereign.

Long ago, I gave up trying to control my circumstances and contented myself with anticipating them, but this quirky February demonstrates even that is beyond me. My Lord says, “It is not for you to know the times and seasons which the Father has put in his own authority” (Acts 1:7).

The seasons of nature and seasons of life are truly beyond my control and, occasionally, beyond my comprehension.