Putting up the sign at Timber Butte Ranch.

Earlier this week we woke up to the first snow of winter.  It came late this year but when it did, it came suddenly.  Everything was covered with an endless blanket of white and as much as I anticipated its coming I felt a pang of anxiety wondering if I had done enough to be ready for it. Had I gotten enough fire wood under cover, was there enough hay in the barn loft, had I insulated and covered vulnerable water pipes, was there enough antifreeze in the tractor?  It’s crazy to be asking such questions when you live in a place where the seasons are constant and distinct, but I think everyone who enjoys country living can relate to what I was feeling.  Every season brings its own challenges and blessings.  The spring is a time to plant and grow.  It’s a time to feel the full impact of the goodness of new life.  It’s a time to open windows and clean house, a time to prune for new growth – a time of new beginnings.  Summer is a time to produce and maintain; a time to mow and bale hay, to construct new things and build fences. It’s a time to enjoy the freshness of the garden and orchard and relish the penetrating heat of summer.  Fall is a time to harvest, preserve and store.  It’s a time to cut & split wood in preparation for the approach of winter that is soon to come.  It’s a time to give thanks for the accomplishments and production of the proceeding months.  It’s a time to ask the question, “Did I do enough, did I invest well with the time, energy and money that I was given?”  Winter is a time to reap the benefits of the seasons past.  It’s a time to eat and drink the fruits of your hard work, to sit by the fire, listen to music, reflect and write. It’s a time to celebrate the richness of life and relationship – a time to do the things you didn’t have time to do before like skiing, snowshoeing, going to movies and so on.Passing seasons are a portrait of life.  They paint a picture of seasons of growth and development, of production and building, and of evaluation and storing away for the twilight years as eternity approaches.   There’s a lot to be learned from nature and the natural order of things. For those of us who live closely with nature we know that the first snowfall stimulates a person to ask those very real questions.  Am I ready for winter? Have I done everything I’ve needed to relish the season ahead?  Did I use the life I was given well?  Did I give enough? Did I love enough?  Did I spend myself on the right things, the rich things, the meaningful things?  Can I relax and rest now that winter is upon me knowing that I have invested well?  These aren’t questions that should be put off until the snow begins to fall, but must be asked much earlier so that we are prepared for the new season. This includes getting ready in our physical lives (homes, property, animals, etc.) but also in our personal lives. Have we done all that we can with the relationships around us? Are there long overdue phone calls or conversations we need to have, or much needed letters to be written?  Paul speaks about knowing God’s good, pleasing and perfect will for your life in Romans 12:2.  This is the place we need to work towards and find ourselves in when the winter is upon us.