lent on the prairies

My mother-in-law claims that an early Easter means an early spring. A late Easter means that spring will take her time in arriving. The rule is proven true this year. We have been tormented with a seemingly endless winter.  Warm temperatures are finally melting the snows, but our joy is tempered with dire forecasts of yet another spring flood.

My husband is convinced that we don`t have to seek suffering in Lent. It will find us. He admits that this just might be a personal superstition. I wonder if the seasonal reality of life in the northern part of the world adds to the emotional heaviness during these Lenten weeks.

The weather on the Canadian prairies is almost always in synch with our liturgical seasons. The snows and frigid colds of December add to the beauty of Advent and Christmas. In night`s deep stillness describes well the silent beauty of falling snow on a dark, December night. The brilliance of winter white acts as the perfect back-drop to colourful lights and decorations as we celebrate the joy of the Incarnation.

By February, the snow has turned to frozen drifts, dirtied by road sand and debris. Each snow-fall and blizzard is met with groans as treacherous roads are navigated or travel plans are changed. The winter of February and March is the ugly cousin of December`s Christmas card beauty. A Lenten mood descends on all.

Ah, but then no one appreciates spring like prairie folk! Our leaves are gone by September, and often don`t return in their fullness until late May or early June. By this time of the year, we are all craving green. We search for the first buds on the trees, the first tiny shoots from the ground. We rejoice to see the farmers finally get on the fields, and pray for God`s blessing for a fruitful year. We have reason to rejoice in the promise of new life at Easter!

How do the seasons in your part of the world affect your experience of Lent and Easter?

2 thoughts on “lent on the prairies

  1. For me, the weather has certainly impacted on my Lenten experience. This is our second Lent in Florida. At this time of year there is little humidity, the grass is green, vines are spreading out, the ocean water is already getting warmer…our environment feels alive! We’ve gotten a frost several times since we arrived here, so we have lost some fragile plants and leaves from the trees…and their return is evident already. The air cools, but the sun shines most days of the year. It’s warmth is healing and its energies cause people to be happier and more willing to engage.
    We no longer bundle like we did when we lived in the Northeast part of the country, where the snows came, the rains lasted longer and the daylight is shorter.
    I feel like my soul and heart are more open here, especially during Lent. Our clothing is lighter in weight and brighter in color which seems to reflect joy, openness and goodness.
    In the Northeast, I was covered more, my heart and soul protected, I could hide, I wasn’t as obvious to the other and the cold winds and snow prevented
    some mobility.
    Is one better than the other? I believe it depends on the experience we form wherever we happen to be. I want to experience the Divine in all places. I want to live and operate out of the present moment in all places.
    I do love the warm weather and at this point, have not missed the climate of the Northeast. God was within there and is within me here…it is what I decide to make of it…

  2. Chris, thank you so much for sharing your warm experience of Lent in Florida! It`s so true that weather can affect the general mood of one`s soul. I have a great little book on my shelf called `Foreign to Familiar – A Guide to Understanding Hot and Cold Climate Cultures` by Sarah A. Lanier. While admitting to the danger of generalizations, she explores the belief that hot climate cultures are more relational, while cold climate cultures are more task-oriented. A very interesting read.

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