Winter, Transition and Change

Discarded boat

Winter is a tough season around the water. Instead of bluish green, the river, the sound and the bay are a cold gray color. A lot of boats have been pulled ashore to be prepared for next season; a lot of them simply look forlorn. The sea grasses are drab looking, of course most of the trees are leafless and I haven’t seen much wildlife. This year there have even been very few flocks of geese flying over.

On a positive note, because of the bare tree branches, a few days ago I caught a peek of a pair of blue herons flying past our property on their way from the river to a hidden inlet here in the cove. Because blue herons are special to me, whenever I see one fly over, I feel as if God is sending a reminder of His love. Definitely a reminder that there is life even in the winter season.

Our lives are full of transition and change all of the time, even when we aren’t noticing, even when it feels like winter. I’ve read some beautiful analogies about the seasons of our lives, comparing them to the four seasons of the year. Gary Chapman and Catherine Palmer expressed it well in their book series “Four Seasons”. There’s a valid purpose and benefit to each of the seasons in nature and in our individual lives.

As I, Grandma Abigail, look around the island and the Olde Fishing Village, I could focus on the lack of activity on the paths & streets and the empty rental houses. I could dwell on missing my favorite summer visitors and could lament the slower retail sales.  Instead, at the beginning of January, I began stating, “There are only 2 1/2 months until Spring!” Now, as I write, there are less than two months until Spring. Alleluia!

Pap Wayne and I have been making some changes too. For a few of those changes, God had given us a long period of preparation. We have to guiltily admit that some of the changes we may have pushed past the timeframe that God had given us. It’s not that we were unwilling, we just wanted to be absolutely certain that we were hearing God on all accounts. I’ve always been willing to submit to change and transition though the older I get, the more cautious I am. At this age, I ask for more confirmations, to make certain I’m following His will and not my own.

Pap Wayne and I know that we are in the winter of our lives, however, God still has a purpose for us and we’re willingly going along for the ride. He’s been transitioning and positioning us for His purposes which He will reveal when the time is right.

The hardest changes have been the physical ones as we age. After surgery and subsequent complications this past year, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to walk around the Olde Fishing Village and island again. I’m fairly certain I’ll never return to walking on the beaches or near the marshes. However, if I can get into my trusty golf cart, I can kick up dust on all of the sandy roads that weave around the island.

Soon the cattails will push new shoots up through the dead fragments left from last year. Daffodils will be smiling at us before we know it. We’ll shake off the winter doldrums and hope will spring up as we see new life bursting forth all around us.

The blue crabs will rise up out of their hibernation in the bottom of the river, the blue herons will happily meet the frogs as they greet the warmer weather, fresh seafood will again be in abundance. Suddenly Celia, Natalie and others I have mentored will return to the island for the fresh sea air, beaches and sun.

So, even though it doesn’t feel like it yet, winter will be over soon. Everything, us included, will complete this phase of transition & change and settle into a new norm. New people will visit the cove, meaning new relationships and new friendships. Some others may transition out of our lives as they follow the next steps in their life journies.

The sun will be closer & brighter and will provide more warmth. The water will look beautiful and inviting again. Wildlife will fill the waterways and a wide range of sea birds will catch our eye. Chatter of voices and sounds of water craft will echo from the waterfront and the laughter of children will fill the green lawns anew. Residents of the village will fill the island with all the normal activities. Joy will fill my heart afresh. Life was hidden there all along; some hibernating, some in transition and some experiencing change. The Winter season makes the Spring and Summer seasons all that more delightful. Praise God!