Seasons Bringing a Fruitful Life
My wife, Shiloh Marie, and I recently celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary on September 21st, the last day of summer. And as we ushered into the first day of autumn, I was reminded of how seasons are signs of change. Change in weather, change in how the environment develops, and sometimes, change in people’s attitudes. I sometimes believe those attitude adjustments can be directly related to the weather and the climate.
For instance, I get grumpy when winter arrives because I already know what’s coming: cold temperatures and snow that will force me to go out in the frigid temperatures and shovel the driveway and sidewalk. I get angry just thinking about it.
However, I am most giddy when winter egresses and spring creeps up on us because, for one, winter is over, and two, the warmer (but hopefully not hot) temps thaw my grumpy attitude.
Another thing about changing seasons is that the season before it paves the way for everything that’s supposed to happen in the new season. In the wintertime, the cold temperatures and, more specifically, snow can trap heat energy and insulate the ground needed for wildlife and plant life that survive under the soil during winter. Most plants are dormant during winter, and like bears hibernating or humans sleeping each night, they must take that time to rest and preserve energy. It’s a time to prepare their soft tissues for the freezing, dry weather. If they continued to grow during the winter actively, cold water stored in stems and leaves and trunks would freeze and cause harm. So during this time, plants are preparing themselves for the work they will need to do to flourish in the spring.
This natural cycle makes me think about my life cycle: everything I’ve done in different seasons of my life has paved the way for the next season. When I was in school studying media communications, I had no idea I would someday be a teacher and an author. But different stops since then have helped me along the way. For instance, I was reporting and writing for a local newspaper about local black businesspersons who have started and maintained their businesses, stories about high school scholar-athletes and their accomplishments on and off the field of play, stories about local political figures, and local infrastructure. Making these connections was key to starting my own business, teaching middle school students, and having a well-rounded view of various subjects.
Working as a youth minister and a juvenile corrections specialist allowed me to see different facets of teen life. I saw teens who had committed heinous crimes and yet were capable readers, writers, and more than capable of performing mathematical problems with no problem. But I also saw fourteen- to seventeen-year-olds unable to read the simplest of sentences, and this was eye-opening and mind-blowing.
Witnessing both the deficiencies and efficiencies of those teens fueled a fire within me to want to write for and teach those students. To watch kids fall in love with reading. To see students who already love reading enjoy stories that pack a load of wisdom. To see students thrive in school settings so much that they don’t make choices that would place them in juvenile facilities in the first place. Because it’s the things they do beforehand that determine their next season of life. And a season of reading, writing, and learning paves the way for a better, more fruitful, and more fulfilling life.