For Everything There is a Season
Updated: Feb 20
I'm in the kitchen, because it's already dark, and I'm bored senseless; determined to remedy the situation with a few slices of salami, some stinky cheese, and a handful of cashews.
The National Weather Service posted this on Facebook a couple days back: “In the first five days of January, we have recorded five minutes of sunshine in southeast Grand Rapids."
Five minutes. A measly 60 seconds of sunlight per day for the first five days of the year.
Outside there's a quick flash, or at least I think there is. Maybe not.
Yep, there it is again.
Shuffling closer to the slider to investigate, I smush my nose against the cold glass, attempting to make sense of the black-grey shapes in the backyard.
Like a desperate "SOS" viewed from a passing plane or an old flashlight after you thump it with the palm of your hand, one of the decorative solar lights around the pool is eking out meager dashes of light from its daily charge.
Sad, but slightly heroic at the same time.
It doesn't take a bearded Greek philosopher to draw out the obvious metaphor. It's January in Michigan and I am, for all intents and purposes, the equivalent of this damn yard light. Drained, but trying to give some energy; some faint light – which, at the moment, amounts to a dull yellow flash every four or five seconds.
"As goodness stands in the intelligible realm to intelligence and the things we know, so the sun stands in the visible realm to sight and the things we see."
I nod in wise approval though, if I'm being honest, still a little fuzzy on the deeper meaning. A few more slices of salami lend no additional clarity. I am desperate for my own leave-the-cave-shadows-behind enlightenment.
As, usual, it comes in quick and direct order from my buddy, Ozzy. "For everything there is a season, Allen," he simply and sagely instructs, quoting from Ecclesiastes.
The full version reads like this: "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace."
It's a mouthful, but it makes sense. This time of year, at least for me, tends to be a little light on the adventure and a little heavy on the prep. You reap what you sow, if I'm getting Biblical. The planting season or, maybe more accurately, the fixing-up-the-farm-equipment season. While I'm eager to get to the harvesting, I first need to break up some ground and drop some seeds.
I passed a billboard on my drive home tonight that read: "Summer bodies are made in winter." Isn't that just precious? This is the same idea minus the accompanying Mr. and Mrs. hardbody pics.
And there's plenty to do. Reline the fly rods, clean and oil the guns (again), wax the bowstring, treat the boots, patch the pants (a time to mend), reorganize the fly boxes, plan the trips, map the routes, scout the bedding areas, wash the sleeping bag, attempt to get the body back in some form of post-holiday fighting shape (summer bodies and all that), attack the book pile that has been steadily growing since hunting season opened, split fire wood, and maybe tie a few flies. Okay, you caught me; I threw that last one in there to sound cool. I barely have the patience to tie my shoes, let alone flies, but I better order a few dozen anyhow.
My point is this, winter is the seminal season for plowing and planting. The work that promises harvests of adventure when the snow begins to melt, the sky begins to brighten, and the days grow increasingly longer.
For everything there is, indeed, a season.
* Header image from Eric Shaeffer, sage advice from Jon Osborn