Growing up in Arizona, I barely knew seasons. Sure, the leaves flew down from what trees there were in the fall. Winters were mild and sunny; snow capped the mountains but rarely reached us down in the desert valley. Spring burst forth in March, the heat slowly climbing to an intensity that melted car-strewn crayons as we neared the height of summer, little changing otherwise. Aside from a short time in late summer when blue-gray, swollen clouds drowned our world for a few hours in the afternoon, most every day shared the same forecast: sunny.
I moved to the Midwest for college and I walked around in awe, watching the world self-destruct and resurrect in the space of a year. Oh, sure, I’d traveled to places with seasons before, but it was something else to live in it for years, slowly come to understand the rhythm, the smells and shifts in the wind that signalled coming changes. I came to love the highs and lows and the smorgasbord of experiences they offered. I scooped fresh white from the backyard in winter in a big steel bowl and mixed it with sweetened condensed milk to make snow ice cream. I thrilled to watch the first buds burst forth on trees, the whole world straining toward newness. I hunted fireflies in the lingering heat of humid, sweltering days, braved a chill wind under leafy canopies of scarlet and gold. Seasons hit a sweet spot for me, for my nature that craves both change and comfort.
The downside to seasons, though, is that sometimes you feel stuck in the past, either that or you yearn for change too early (usually in my case wanting spring to mean sunshine in March, like back in the desert). Either way, it can be hard to embrace the moment, feeling underdressed or overdressed and definitely out of place.
This year in my city, Easter mirrored the weather, that Sunday marking the day darkness and rain started to give way to tulips and t-shirt weather. I wasn’t expecting the sun to break through so early. Also, it’s taking me some time to come out of Lenten Mind this year, start feasting instead of fasting. I got some big news during Holy Week, some of it hope-feeding and some of it heartbreaking. And I feel like I’m still digesting, in the middle, one foot still in the desert.
That’s why I’m glad Easter is not just a day, but a season. In the Liturgical Calendar, Eastertide lasts for a full fifty days until the holiday of Pentecost (literally “fiftieth” in the Greek). So I have some time to get in the spirit, discover what is speaking resurrection joy into my life right now. And of course, Easter joy is with me every day, in every season. It’s the day that makes every other day make sense, like the sun that brings light to every day, no matter what time of year it is. There will be plenty of time for me to experience the joys of Easter, turn my face to the sunlight and keep on growing toward it.
How are you experiencing the change in seasons?