Seasons Greetings is a holiday expression reserved for that expansive, just-exited season of Christmas. But what if we didn’t so hastily put the phrase back on the shelf this year?

In Japan, an ancient lunar calendar further divided the four seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall) into 72 micro-seasons, lasting just 5 days each. There’s “The Mountain Stream Freezes Over,” then later, “The First Peach Blossoms,” then “The First Frog Calls,” and “The Young Hawk Learns to Fly.”

These seasons call attention to the more delicate, weekly shifts of nature. The 72 Seasons app can connect you to this way of timekeeping.

Recognizing and inhabiting the seasons lends shape and meaning to our lives. Maybe in this pandemic season you’ve already found yourself more attuned to the subtleties of the ever-changing seasons around you, within you. Perhaps while working from home you’ve noticed the birds nesting right outside your window. They sing at the opening and closing of each work day. Had they been there all along?

A weekly pause to consider a seasonal shift can open you to the seasons in your own life. Where has God placed you today? What are the conditions around you … within you? What is the invitation?

These are some of the questions we are asking at Laity Lodge at the outset of 2021. What is this season we are in? It’s as if Advent persists, and we are still in a posture of waiting—of longing. Uncertainty colors all possibilities of gathering here. And, for now, we don’t have any open retreats on the calendar.

We hope that can change very soon. In the meantime, we’re trying to clearly see this season for what it is—to cherish the beauty of today. Seasons Greetings.

As I have made some progress in my spiritual growth, increasingly I’ve come to cherish the seasons…. Seeing God in nature represents more than merely acknowledging the loveliness around us. It’s not just seeing God’s handiwork—rather, it’s seeing how He himself is at work within us. Creation is not just a postcard picture for us to behold; it’s also a road map for our learning more deeply who God is and how He feels about us. Rains, storms, and tempests only come to make the earth more beautiful. Whatever the devastation, nature heals itself; Resurrection is inherent in the soil we walk on. Just as we await our Lord’s return, so we wait, beyond life’s rainy days, for the beauty to come.

— Howard Butt, Jr.

What is this season we are in? In the spirit of the 72 micro-seasons, maybe we could call it the yellow-blue light passes uninterrupted through the trees, or, the kingfisher shows itself. At least, that is the season that photographer Wendi Poole discovered on her most recent visit to the Lodge.