Waiting for Winter

A friend of mine recently described our recent weather in Denver as four months of October. While I’ve enjoyed getting outside and taking walks in the mild weather, we are way behind in snow and moisture. And the dry winter impacts our gardens.

Even though we received a little snow on Monday and more is forecast for Sunday, Denver is experiencing the third lowest snowfall since the 1880s. A normal November is 7.5 inches of snow – November 2017 only had a trace of snow. December usually has 8 inches of snow – we got 4 inches in December.

Last weekend I turned on my outside faucets to water my trees, shrubs and perennials. While I plant low-water plants that do well in our normally dry climate, the prolonged dry winter can damage plants.

lavender in winter

We are one month into winter and still waiting for winter!

But winter is a waiting season anyway. While spring, summer and fall are active in the garden – with growth, planting, flowers and harvesting, winter is the season when there is limited activity and not much visible happening in the garden. Winter is the quiet, waiting season. The dormant winter season is essential for the overall growth and health of plants. Snow cover over the roots and moisture released from slowly melting snow are important for healthy plants.

Even though I know the value of winter, and the importance of the quiet season of waiting, I sometimes wrestle with waiting in my soul. I long for the seasons of active growth, visible flowering, clear changes – but some seasons are spent waiting – and waiting – and waiting.

dry flower beds

In my head I know God is with me, and is active in our world. But in my heart, my prayers echo those of the ancients “How long oh Lord?” (Habakkuk 1:2) How long until this situation I have prayed over for many years changes? How long until the next step becomes clear? How long until the flourishing of spring?

I remember one particularly dry winter/spring some years ago. I was driving from Denver to Colorado Springs and I wondered what would happen if the grasses on the hillsides and prairie never greened up. What would it be like if it we went from the brown of winter to the brown of summer, without any growth in the spring? I supposed that’s what happened in the prairie during the dust bowl years.

In all the years I can remember, eventually we get some moisture, and the grasses turned green. But I still wonder, what happens when we skip a season? Can nature recover?

What about my soul? How long can I wait? What if it seems that God never answers? Yes, I know he’s always with me, but I also know that sometimes his followers wait for years.clematis in winter

Pictures: Dry clematis and lavender in my garden, waiting for snow cover. Flowerbeds at the park near my home, waiting for moisture.

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