The Changing Seasons

“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each.”         
-Henry David Thoreau

I love this time of year.  It’s vibrant in so many ways.  For the past week and maybe one more, the colors of the trees will change on a daily basis.  The crisp chill of early morning air will create a frost that covers the lawn and fallen leaves, and the smell of an early morning fire will fill the air.  For me, its only drawback is the loss of light.  Daylight savings time will soon end with the sun coming up a little later each morning, and setting a little earlier each afternoon.  By mid-November the car’s headlights will be necessary for the evening trek home from work.   All things considered, fall is a beautiful season, just like each to follow, and just like the seasons in our lives.

Our lives are like the seasons, they change and each segment brings elements that we love and others that challenge us.  They twist and turn, and there are times that life, like each season of the year, seems filled with blessings.  There are also those periods of challenge or despair, when we curse the season and hope for the next.  If only it was so easy.  Our lives are like the seasons, and there is a children’s story that speaks to this analogy.

A king had four sons. To teach them an important lesson he had them visit a cherry tree in the deep forest of their kingdom.

During the peak of winter, he asked his eldest son to go and see the tree and return with a description. The prince came back and told his father, The tree is barren, old, and hopeless. Not even birds are coming near it.  It looks useless and maybe it is better to cut it down and use the wood before it rots.”  The wise King nodded and smiled.

In the middle of spring, the king asked his second son to visit the tree and return with a  description. The second prince came back and said, “The tree is not barren, it is full of beautiful cherry blossoms and looks young and promising.  It’s surrounded by butterflies and bees who are enjoying its flowers.”  The wise King nodded and smiled.

That summer the king sent his third son to go to see the tree and return with a description.  When the prince returned, he told his father, “There are no blossoms, and the tree is loaded with delicious cherries and looks mature and very healthy.  Many birds are living on the tree and are enjoying the fruits.”  The wise King nodded and smiled.

Finally, in autumn the king asked his youngest son to visit the tree and return with a description. The young prince returned and shared, “The tree has no fruit or flowers, but it looks beautiful, its colored leaves have lovely shades of gold, red and orange.” The wise King nodded and smiled.

A few days later the king gathered his sons, and again they each shared their description of the cherry tree.  He then asked,  “What did you learn from this experience?”  The other three princes were still thinking when the youngest prince smiled and shared his thoughts:

  • We should not judge our life based on only the current season in our life.
  • Like the tree, we experience different seasons of life and we are greatly affected by them.
  • Every season has a purpose.
  • No matter whatever the current season is, it will change again.

The wise King nodded and smiled.

Our life is composed of continually changing seasons that are not in our control.  While we cannot change the season, we can change our perception and our mindsets.  When we take actions to address the challenges of the current season, we can influence the next season of our life.  Each new season is a blessing and our lives get better not just by wishing for good times, but by accepting every season of life joyfully.

Bob Dylan wrote, “The times, they are a changin.”  So are the seasons!  What season are you enjoying at the moment?

Embrace the Seasons
Embrace the Challenge.