My friend’s farm in New Zealand is just tucking in for the winter, while my northern-hemisphere garden is just waking up to spring (most days).
The ever-changing turn of natural force on our planet is astonishing.
Consider some of the elements that allow Mother Nature to work in her way: wind, weather patterns, precipitation, temperature shifts. Each is necessary to sustain life in their respective region. And yet collectively, they work in sync to create a masterpiece in which we live every day. These elements work together feverishly and swirl around us. Some are visible to us, while others are not. Her days are filled with activity to produce our days. (Does this sound familiar?)
Our earth’s climates are the long-term patterns of temperature and precipitation over time, whereas weather is the daily environmental conditions. The climate will determine what kind of vegetation can grow and will create the biome (a large, naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat). The weather allows it to be so.
But the weather in this vast masterpiece can be unpredictable, even as it usually follows seasonal patterns.
The weather usually stays the same in any given season, in any given region. But as soon as one season finishes, the winds of unpredictable weather begin to blow. My mom calls these the “in-between” seasons. For example, on her New Zealand farm, Adrienne’s spring is consistently rainy and cool with a few sunny days. As the season begins to shift, however, the temperatures warm considerably, making some days rainy and windy while others may be hot and sunny. When a season finishes, the weather begins to shift to usher in a new one. The wind blows.
There are many other influences at work around us that produce our days, too: Earth’s position (a tilt of 23 degrees), ecological units (microorganisms, atmosphere, natural phenomenon), the influence of natural resources (air, electric charge, magnetism), and so on! The breadth and depth of this living artistry is staggering.
In my wanderings over the years, I’ve come to see that human motherhood seems to follow nature’s motherhood in so many ways: a million different influences, energies, and systems working together simultaneously to produce something for someone else. There are seasons as predictable as the sun rising, and there are seasons that blow in the unpredictable.
A few decades ago, I found my mother crying one afternoon shortly after my oldest brother left for missionary service at the age of 19. He was the first of all of us to leave the nest and I remember feeling a significant shift in our home as a result.
I sat next to her and asked after her.
“It’s just—this feels kind of like the beginning of the end of something, of a time.” She said, “Things will never quite be the same again.” She was describing a major shift in her weather. She proved prophetic.
All four of her children would leave to give missionary service—her last two would leave together on the same day. They would all move away to pursue their lives, make independent choices, and adopt their own views of the world. They would be successful and they would fail. And all of them would give her joy and some sorrow, as children do.
But she will admittedly say today that those winds of change so many years ago may have been justly painful, but they have brought with them a new climate with different flora and fauna to appreciate, even to cherish.
The wind blows fiercely in my world today because it’s supposed to rain tomorrow. But you know, the wind that brings the storm will also water my coming tulips.