If I was to say to you what the colour blue represents, I am sure that I would get thousands of different answers. To some blue represents the sky. To some blue represents the ocean. To some they would think of royal blue or midnight blue. Still others might think of calmness. Others would think of the earth. Blue is impossible to describe in just one way. Just as there are many different shades of blue, there are many apt descriptions of what blue might be. There is no right answer.
What if I asked you to describe winter? Those of us in Canada think of snow and ice, of frozen ponds and mountain tops. In Sydney, people think of cooler, damp, cloudier days. In the Victorian alps they think of skiing. In Darwin they think of the dry season. Winter means many different things to different people. Again there is no correct answer as to what winter is- there are no wrong answers.
In North America, we always start our seasons with the solstices and equinoxes. The day with the most daylight- the summer solstice- happens around the 21st of June. Autumn begins around the 21st of September and so on. But in Australia, most people say that June 1st is the beginning of winter, September 1st is the first day of spring and so on. I don’t think it makes a lot of difference really. Even though the daylight will still get shorter for another few weeks next- I know that whether it be late autumn or early winter that my swimmers have been put away for now and that I will be wearing jackets most days. Come September 1st, even though we won’t quite have achieved equal daylight hours and night time hours, the mornings will be less chilly and the sun will noticeably be warmer. Whether one waits for the equinoxes or just the changing of a new month on a calendar, one can see the changing cycles of the seasons moving ever forward. Is today autumn or winter- who really cares- but what I do know is that I am not putting the air conditioner on today but more likely the furnace.
Life is full of cycles. Farmers and gardeners know that sometimes you plant seeds, and sometimes you wait for the harvest. There is a growth cycle, a harvest cycle, and maybe a dormancy cycle. The land is like that. Some people dare to plant very early. Others dare to have a crop in later then others. There is no correct day to plant (even though in cooler parts of Canada we always used the phrase not before May 24th knowing that to plant earlier than that was to risk a late frost). And of course there is the circle of life. If we lead a full life not cut short by an accident or a disease, we know that we will be infants, then toddlers, then children, then teenagers, then adults, then middle agers, then seniors, then elders. Some grow up faster then others. Some due to circumstance might be forced to grow from toddler to adult and skip childhood and teenage years. Some act like adolescents all of their lives and never quite become adults. There is no right way to age. My cycle is different then yours.
So is today a cool late autumn day? Or is today the first day of winter? What I am saying is that it does not really matter. It is just a part of God’s cycle, and we are invited to take part in it. Blessings.