Most of us have a favorite season of the year. But part of the joy of gardening is that, as we actively engage with nature in the intimacy of our own yard, we can find beauty in every season.
Spring for me starts when “pale green points” (a description I love from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett) start pushing up through the soil. The days may still be cold, but my heart is warmed as I see my garden waking up.
Soon, the crocuses burst forth in a royal display of purple, gold, and white. The elegant cups of a hundred daffodils become trumpets heralding the coming of spring. And sprinkled among my “formal” garden beds and in every corner of the yard, wild violets and dandelions share their joy at the turn of the season.
Then comes summer, when the garden beds overflow with color. I sip iced tea in the shade of a patio umbrella and fall in love all over again with the never-ending display of marigolds and zinnias and my other annuals. My perennials make their briefer statement with fanfare, such as my orienpet lilies (a cross between oriental and trumpet lilies), which stand five feet tall and boast huge blooms that fill the air with a heavy, rich fragrance.
In the fall, my favorite backyard birds return to the feeders that I put out each autumn, and I have fun with displays of bizarrely-shaped gourds and fat, round, orange pumpkins. The gold finches visit my seven-foot Autumn Glory rudbeckia to pick the seeds from every dried, brown flowerhead. I collect fat, round seeds from canna lilies – not to plant next year, but simply to feel the pleasure of rolling them in the palm of my hand.
And finally, the winter. The stark simplicity of snow is brightened by a flurry of wings in my yard as my feeders get emptied with remarkable rapidity each day. Occasional ice storms transform the yard into crystalline splendor. Frost decorates my fence with delicate lace, then transforms into wisps of silent, curling steam at the touch of the morning sun.
Now, take these images and think about your life. There are many seasons in our lives. We have springtime where new opportunities are born and thrive. We enjoy the plenty and bounty of summer. We experience the cool of autumn where some things come to an end. And there are the days of winter where life can seem cold and dormant.
But just as every season of the year has a beauty all its own, so every season of our lives brings things to appreciate and opportunities to grow. And, just like the seasons of the year, we are never “stuck” where we are – the seasons turn and change. We will experience many springtimes throughout our lives. Many summers. Many autumns and winters. As we learn to embrace each season in our life as it comes, we find ourselves developing wisdom and overflowing with gratitude. We find that there is truly beauty in all seasons.