Author: Karen Hoover

For every thing there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

We had the opportunity in September to live in the mountains above Nederland in a small cabin that we have rented annually for the 28 years we have lived in Boulder. Our annual relocation to this simpler abode and lifestyle has been an important respite and time of renewal for us. While our jobs have required us to drive the beautiful canyon, the remaining hours are spent walking, hiking, reading, preparing simple meals—and getting more and better sleep!

Our usual pattern has been to schedule our mountain sojourn to coincide with the arrival of spring at 8400 feet elevation. This is a vibrant time in nature’s cycle. Birds are arriving from their long migrations and are busy nesting. Morning and evening hours are saturated with birdsong and the hummingbirds provide endless entertainment at the feeders. Several of the mountain wildflowers are already blooming and more will blossom before we leave. The elk are still in the meadow but soon they will move to the higher elevations that will be their summer home. Moose are calving and we have to be extra careful not to encounter them in the willows. The bare aspen trees are leafing out, and will soon begin to dance in the breeze. Now and then we’ve bundled up against a spring snowfall or cut short a hike due to impassable snowbanks or streams rushing with early run-off.

In short, spring is a season bursting with life, both new and emerging from the challenges of winter survival. Growth is evident in all of God’s creation and colors are bursting forth in the leaves, flowers, and brilliant colors of mating birds. Days slowly grow warmer and longer and winter coats and antlers are shed.

Thus, our weeks this fall provided a very dramatic contrast and brought to mind the verses from Ecclesiastes (Ch. 3). Over time, our over-stimulated senses made the adjustment to the beauty and intrigues of nature’s quiet season. We no longer expected birdsong but enjoyed the few hummingbirds who had not yet migrated. A rapid “click click” in a nearby tree caught our attention and reading was set aside to watch a squirrel busily releasing and storing the seeds of an entire pinecone. Leaves were not yet yellow, but the grasses were tall and golden and the flower seed heads abundant. The elk had not yet returned to the meadow, but the days grew shorter and the mornings and evenings cooler.

As we are reminded in reading Ecclesiastes, we are not in control of the seasons. God has done God’s work in creating our home and orchestrating the rhythms by which we live our lives and do our work. But Ecclesiastes also includes this important verse (v.13): “It is also God’s gift to humankind that every one should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil.” Balancing all that God has given to us with all that God requires of us is our daily challenge. Taking the time to appreciate God’s gifts can renew our spirits and energies for our work.

We thank you, God, for everything you have given us—not just your magnificent creation and its intriguing rhythms but also for the work you have given us to do. Thank you for refreshing us and renewing our commitment to you and to all creation.

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