Winter Does End

Spring has officially arrived. After months of blah winter, we are entering SPRING! We love to talk about the seasons. Usually, lamenting the current and looking forward to the future. And it’s the same with the various stages of life. We can’t wait to get to the “next” point and too often we miss the best parts of where we are.

Spring. The word itself makes me think of bouncing. Spring is excitement, joy and everything new. The trees are putting on new green growth. The flowers are starting to bloom. The clothes are lighter and just feel more FUN. We do spring cleaning and move into this new season with a bounce in our step. In life, the spring season may be a new love, a new job, a new family member. Everything is new and exciting and still to be explored. And, we just can’t wait for summer to arrive.

Summer. Sun. Vacation. Play. Rest. Summer is FREEDOM. Time to enjoy life and take a break from the hum-drum of the normal routine. It’s a time to look at the beauty that spring provided even as the leaves turn from bright green to a darker more somber shade. School is out and camps are in full swing. Vacations are full speed ahead and we wear ourselves out relaxing. And, summer brings heat. And, we complain. We don’t like the heat. We don’t want to be hot. We just want to have fun. We want to go back to the joy and newness of spring. And we forget to enjoy the summer moments. We look forward to fall.

Fall. Crisp autumn air brings a welcome coolness after the heat of summer. The trees begin to lose their green and turn to yellow, orange and red and finally brown. The pink and red hibiscus of summer are replaced with the yellow and purple of the fall pansies. We pull out the heavier clothing and prepare to bundle up. I think fall is my favorite season. It’s a time to celebrate what we’ve accomplished. Many activities in the fall are preparation for endings, but we celebrate those endings with bright colors and lots of fanfare. Fall is the time of looking back and reflecting and remembering as we enter the winter season.

Winter. Words to describe winter are cold, dead, bleak, gray. Winter is a time of death, a time of struggling to protect what was. We look for protection. We wear heavy coats and keep doors and windows shut. We hurry from place to place to avoid winter. In many ways, we just exist while we are looking forward to the spring. Just as ice and snow can sometimes cover the landscape, I can feel encased and frozen in my personal season. It’s during winter that we prepare for growth. Winter is vital. I have a rosebush in my front yard that I grew from a cutting from a bush at my parents house. The first three or four years that I had this little rosebush I protected it from winter. I covered it in when it was too cold to keep it warm and protect it from freezing. I had no roses. One year I didn’t cover it and let it freeze. It was full of the most beautiful roses in the spring. That rosebush has to freeze to produce roses. It’s important to go thru a full winter cycle in order to bloom. In our lives we have to go through winter. We have to “just exist” for a time in order to fully bloom when spring returns.

Every season in life is important. We need the newness of spring, the full heat of summer, the changes of fall and the barrenness of winter. And, we must learn to live and I mean REALLY live in each season. If we are always looking for the “new and exciting” in life, how can we find the joy that is available to us in the comfort of the ever-changing but familiar parts of life. Instead of dreading the heat that comes with maturing and facing life, maybe it would be better to embrace the challenges as opportunities to grow. I’m not a fan of change, but there is no way to avoid the changes that will come into my life. I have to be able to celebrate the past and move forward. And, during those times that I feel frozen, unnecessary or maybe a little dead inside, I need to embrace the time to be dormant and to rebuild. I don’t just exist in a shell as a faint memory of what once was. The harder the winter, the more beautiful the blooms that will come in the spring.


September has arrived. We are in the final third of 2013. And while it’s still hot and fall won’t officially arrive until the 22nd, there is anticipation of its arrival. Each morning during the weather, fall weather is mentioned. It hasn’t arrived in Houston, but we are READY. We dream about crisp morning air, cooler days, open windows, lower utility bills that are coming. I’ve heard that we don’t have much of a fall in Texas. And, I guess that may be true if we are talking about changing leaves and such. But to me, fall in Texas means football and hayrides, band contests and festivals, fresh peach cobbler and shelling pecans, harvesting and sowing crops.

I was raised in north Texas. This is the time of year when cotton strippers are seen along the country roads. Fields that were once covered in fluffy bolls of cotton were methodically stripped of everything, leaving few remnants of the harvest. This is also the time when wheat crops are sown. My dad farmed wheat. He wasn’t good at remembering the actual dates of birthdays or anniversaries, but he knew I was born during wheat sowing time, my sister was born during harvest and my brother came around Christmas. When I decided to get married in October, I warned my future husband that Daddy would complain about it being during sowing time. And, we discussed the inconvenience of having our first child during wheat harvest, too.

My grandmother had peach trees. Beginning in the late summer, she would bring bags of peaches to us. They weren’t the big, pretty peaches you see in the grocery store. But, the taste was incredible. Granny canned lots of peaches. She made peach jelly, pickled peaches and peaches for cobblers later. We ate fresh peaches for dessert, made peach ice cream and when the peaches began to get soft, we made peach cobbler. I loved to prepare the peaches and the pie dough to make cobblers. And even though we ate LOTS of peaches in the fall, it was always sad when Granny would say “this is the last of the peaches.” We never got tired of them.

My parents had a pecan tree in the front yard of their house. According to my dad, his father transplanted that native pecan tree from the country the year my dad was born. It grew and thrived for 21 years, but never had any pecans. Until the year my parents got married. That was the first pecan crop. In the fall, I remember being told that it was time to pick up pecans. Not one of my favorite activities. We would all go outside and look for the pecans laying on the ground. And that tree did produce pecans. Then, we would sit and crack pecans. And, then pick the meat out of the shells. In later years, my mother got a nut picker device. You pushed it down over the pecans and they went inside the “basket”. That was certainly better than bending over and picking them up one at a time. And, these days, there are places that will crack your pecans for you. Then all you have to do is separate the meat from the shell.

And fall means FOOTBALL! Growing up, it meant getting the perfect black and gold outfit to wear to school on Fridays. It meant bus rides to Paducah, Munday, Knox City, Quanah, Memphis and other area towns. It meant wool band uniforms that were too hot to wear at the beginning and not warm enough by the end of the season. It meant practices and pep rallies and memorizing music and drills. It was marked with Frito Pies and Hot chocolate and baked potatoes from the concession stands during 3rd quarter. It was about school pride and the pomp and circumstance of the school song and the fight song.

Fall encompasses so many memories. My birthday and wedding anniversary are in October. It was in the fall of 1988 that we heard our first baby’s heartbeat for the first time. The fall marked the beginning of our family. We decorated our first apartment in the fall. All of our dreams and hopes began in the fall. And, it’s in the fall when the dreams died.

I don’t anticipate the fall in the same way these days. I’ll drag out the scarecrows and the pumpkins in a few weeks and decorate the front yard. I’ll have to replace a few that just were too worn out to save last year. I’ll remember the fun from the past and my kids and I will make new memories. But, there will be no football games this year. At least not ones that involve any of my family members. No black and gold or green and white themed clothing. There are no tractors to help move from one field to another. The peaches and pecans will have to come in small batches from the farmers market. Birthdays will be quiet and low-key. And, anniversaries will be mourned.

I’m ready for fall.


Here’s the deal. Five Minute Friday. You go find the little prompt at the wonderful Lisa-Jo’s blog, set the time and write for five minutes, and then just stop. Where you are, no edits, just publish raw words.



I don’t like to fall. It hurts. So, I’ve always avoided anything that might include falling: skating, hurdles, climbing trees, etc. I’ve watched my kids throw themselves into all sorts of painful things. My son played football and I cringed every time he was hit. But, at least he wore pads.

And then there’s wrestling! Both my son and my daughter wrestled. They got on a mat with only a small amount of ear protection and wrestled for the longest six minutes of a mom’s life. I’ve seen more pain in the six minutes on the mat than in a full game of football. And my mom’s heart would stop every time my kid hit the floor. Because, the whole point was to get the fall. You worked your heart out to get the opponent to fall. Sometimes, you fall in the process. It’s all part of the grand scheme.

When did I stop working with all my heart to get my opponents to fall? When did I stop working against loneliness and self-doubt? I’ve got to stop being afraid to fall so that I can make my opponents hit that mat and get out of my life.