Lessons from the Changing Seasons

Fall gives us an opportunity for reflection and contemplation

By Scott Gerbrandt, Manitoba Director 

Sept 6, 2023

Did you see a yellow leaf fall gently to the ground this week?

In recent days, we can all feel, see, breathe and touch the change of season that is upon us! (I’m not talking about the shift in stores that now offer us PSL (pumpkin spice lattes) earlier and earlier… although we do see it there too.)

I love the change of seasons!

Actually, I am discovering this time around that I love the change of seasons more than the season itself.  This is not to say I don’t love particular seasons, I do very much love the colour and feel that is the fall season. But one of the joys of living on the prairies is noticing the distinct seasons, which then offer us the challenging and beautiful liminal spaces of transition. Summer turns to fall, fall to winter, winter to spring, and spring into summer.

I have come to see the change of seasons a learning opportunity. And I offer three very short thoughts here of some personal lessons I am coming back to in this moment of change:

Listening and Paying Attention

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” – Mary Oliver

 Just this week I discovered that my assumption that my shorts and t-shirt were sufficient for my morning commute on my bike to the office was, perhaps, lacking forethought. Times of transition offer us an opportunity to pay attention more closely. To slow down a bit and listen to the environment around us… for the sake of others and myself!

Patience and “Settledness”

“There’s a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

In seasonal transition we on the prairies can get some interesting weather! And we all like to talk (and complain) about the weather. One thing that I’ve noticed is how anxious we sometimes get in these transitions when we experience the “fullness” of the upcoming season.  A spring or fall snow storm comes, and we all freak out that winter is here (or never leaving) when in a few days the sky is clear and the snow is gone. Times of transition offer us the opportunity to be settled and patient in times of change, knowing that change often takes time to be fully realized.

New Beginnings, Rhythms, and Routines

“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” — Henry David Thoreau

This one seems obvious in the transition to fall, as many children and adults shift fully into “school routines” associated with the fall. But I’ve now been taking time in each seasonal transition to notice the good and needed change of routine that is necessary for the new season. One of the changes in season we have been observing here in the A Rocha office is the Season of Creation. This is a month-long worldwide celebration of prayer and action to protect our common home. The Season of Creation offers us a rhythm of intentional time during the year to reflect on our relationship to the earth, and renew our commitment to its care.

Times of seasonal transition offer us the chance to establish new beginnings or let go of old rhythms that will not serve us well once we are fully embedded in the new.

What are you learning about this change from summer to fall? What are you noticing as you slow down enough to listen and pay attention? Where does your patience get stretched and how might you be able to settle in this change that may or may not be welcomed?

Featured photo: Zoe Matties

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Need some space for reflection and contemplation?

You are invited to come away with us for a guided retreat this September. Join us as we carve out time to reflect on the season of life we find ourselves in personally and explore how God may be inviting us into rhythms of work and rest this fall.

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