From Winter Blues to Winter Blooms
Winter usually struck in November and overstayed its welcome well into March. Growing up in Ohio, the winters were cold, bleak, and snow filled. By the time January hit I was craving sunshine and warmth and taking vitamin D pills just to survive the winter blues.
My body craves sunshine and all that the sun brings with it. Things like warmth, singing birds and lush beautiful gardens.
Don’t get me wrong, snow can be beautiful too. And I’ll even admit that I love the first snowfall of the season. However, after that, I’m done. Please, snow, just dry up and leave already. Stop falling and piling up all over the place.
Because of my aversion to cold, snowy, winters I have always dreamed of moving somewhere warmer. Maybe even tropical. At least someplace where the weather doesn’t drop below freezing regularly. Is anyone tracking with me on this?
Well, a few years ago the opportunity presented itself. My husband received a job offer in North Carolina. Yes, please! A dream come true! Hallelujah! (Insert angels singing.)
It didn’t take long to adjust to the mild winters in NC. I don’t think I wore a coat the entire first winter. I couldn’t believe how warm it felt compared to my previous cold and dreary winter experiences. But more surprising was the abundance of shrubs, bushes, and trees that remained green all winter long.
Then one January day my whole world turned upside down. I looked out my living room window and saw this plant BLOOMING.
What!?! There are plants that BLOOM in January? I was tickled to see this in my yard. After all, this could never happen in the long, cold, snow-filled winters of Ohio. After some quick research, I learned that this is a Hellebore. Also known as a Lenten Rose because it blooms during Lent.
Hellebores are a welcome sight in the garden when nothing else is blooming.
Recently, I’ve been thinking of Hellebores and the unlikely timing of their blooms. They bloom before the winter season ends.
They signal hope for a new season.
A season of sunshine, warmth, and plenty, as new growth quickly springs up. Those winter blooms are reminders that spring is coming. Winter will end. And the season will change.
As much as I don’t care for wintry weather, I have equal dislike for the winter seasons of my personal life. Those seasons can be long, cold and barren. Sometimes nothing seems to grow, let alone thrive.
Have you ever gone through a “winter season” in your life? Maybe spiritually, financially, physically, or relationally? Those times are difficult. It can feel as if there is a winter cloud overhead and you just can’t out-pace it.
I recently experienced a difficult season. It lasted several months. And I’m thankful it is over. There were many times I wished for a “Hellebore bloom” to brighten my day.
And you know what? I saw them – the blooms – just when I needed them. They came in many forms – a reassuring hug from my husband, a thoughtful letter from my son, a surprise gift from my small group, a message from a family member, or a much-needed visit from a close friend – each of these acts a special and valuable gift.
The truth is, there really is beauty in every season.
Originally, this began as a gardening post, to discuss the variety of plants that thrive in different climates. Instead, I’ve learned a valuable life lesson from this beautiful, against-all-odds, plant. This flower taught me that although the conditions of my environment may not seem favorable I can still bloom. What’s more, I will look for ways to share fresh blooms with others during their winter seasons.
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