I am not looking forward to winter this year, but I hope to change my thinking before it arrives.

“So you speak to me of sadness / And the coming of the winter / Fear that is within you now / It seems to never end.” --John Denver, “Rhymes and Reasons”

 This year, for some reason, I dread the coming of the winter. Typically, I anticipate this season, as the outside quiets down and the land lapses into dormancy.

 Perhaps it’s the prospect of months without leaves shrouding the trees. Perhaps it’s those dreary gray days with Arctic blasts of wind finding their way into the house. Perhaps it’s just a desire to slow the process of change down. As much as I love autumn, this year it reminds me more than ever of winter days ahead.

 Anyway, before winter arrives, I hope to alter my thinking, because the changing of the seasons is an essential part of the beauty and wonder of life on the Great Plains.

 Change comes into our lives, whether we want it to or not. Every season brings with it good and bad. Sometimes, we simply have to grit our teeth and go on.

 Even then though, amidst winter’s sometimes harsh weather and stark landscape, we can still find hope. A favorite song from high school days—“The Rose” by Bette Midler—captures this sentiment very well: "Just remember in the winter / Far beneath the bitter snow / Lies the seed that with the sun’s love / in the spring becomes the rose.”