Image from CozyKitchenChats
We lived in Seattle for seven years. One thing I thoroughly enjoyed while there was the way my neighbours celebrated the change in seasons. When fall fell into winter, they cleared away the last of the leaves, put up their holiday lights, and enjoyed a white Christmas; when winter melted into spring, they freshened their interior decor, aerated their lawns and repainted the stoop and garage doors; when spring jumped into summer, they got out their barbecues and their deck furniture and celebrated their nationhood with their neighbours; and when summer edged into autumn, they got out their leaf blowers and jack-o-lanterns, had their chimneys swept and booked their flights home to family for Thanksgiving. Every year. And with each transition, they changed the wreath hanging on the front door.
I decided that this familar rhythm was something I wanted to continue celebrating so I carried my Seattle wreaths home with me to New Zealand. But after the first year, it felt false, even twee, in this South Pacific environment. To begin with, the change in seasonal weather is not that marked, and Kiwis are such independent souls that they do whatever they like whenever. So my wreaths have remained stashed in the shed.
It has been wonderful being back home with family in these sea-circled islands in the south of the South Pacific. It’s where I belong. I have come to realise that, as a teacher, I do celebrate different seasons of the year. I love the rhythm of the school calendar. You work a twelve hour day for nine or ten weeks then you collapse into a well-deserved two week break. February to March, then the Autumn April break; May to June then the July mid-winter break; August to September then the October Spring break; November to mid-December then the December-January Summer break.
Nearing retirement, I hope this rhythm of work and rest will continue long after the bells stop ringing in my ears. It’s a seasonal beat that reminds me of Sabbath, which is perhaps why I find it so comforting. Six days work, one day rest. A season of labour followed by a season of restoration and renewal. It’s a God-given gift for which I am very grateful.