We have been enjoying a rather balmy January along these southern shores of Georgian Bay and along the sandier shores of Lake Huron. Balmy as in temperatures hovering around 0 to -7 degrees Celsius. This is so warm for us that I saw a guy in shorts the other day!
Abby, my canine sidekick, and I have been lingering longer on our daily walks listening to the gurgling of the unfrozen rivers, the dripping of icicles and the gathering of chatty birds. It was all fun and games until Sunday afternoon.
On Sunday afternoon my enjoyment turned to concern when both my husband I noticed unseasonal buds forming on a tree along our pathway. Upon closer investigation we noticed other trees along the trail were also beginning to wake early from what should be a long winter’s nap.
As we pulled into our driveway, we were alarmed to notice the crocuses had already begun to grow and were at least an inch above ground! This took us back nine years ago when the fruit industry in Ontario and Quebec were devastated by a mild winter. It was the apple orchards hit particularly hard because the buds formed way too early and by mid-March the blossoms started appearing and in April a terrific frost killed off an entire years’ worth of fruit.
As the Author of Ecclesiastes writes, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). This is an ancient wisdom teaching us to trust in the rhythm of life. There is a time for things to grow, a time to thrive, and a time to rest. When we mess with that rhythm terrible things can happen.
It is the same with people. There is a time to be together and a time to let them go. It isn’t wise to try to hold onto something or someone longer then the season allows, and it makes life a sad affair if we spend our time yearning for things that have yet to come or if their time has passed.
As a Mother I have had to learn this the hard way. As each of my children have grown and started lives of their own, I have had to let them go; out into a world I cannot control. To hold them here, safely at home, would have stunted their growth and they would have missed out on what God had in store for them.
It takes trust in God to release those we love. Knowing God goes with us wherever we go makes the parting easier and aids us to take the necessary steps in new directions.
I have decided to trust God with the crocuses and apple trees promising not to complain when the north wind returns; understanding its chilly breezes renders the trees and flowers back to their necessary winter repose.
Rev. Heather McCarrel
Port Elgin United Church