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All things must pass

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IT may be March, but there is a church down the road still inviting me to join it for its Christmas services, and informing me in a large poster that “Wise men still seek him.”

This may be so, but, to be honest, if they haven’t found him yet, it might be best to take a break for a while, and come back to the search with renewed vigour next Advent. For, as we all know, if something is worth doing, it is certainly worth not doing. Otherwise we begin to tire of life, and increasingly find little meaning.

This is the glory of the seasons. They come along and tell us to stop doing what we are doing because something more important has come up. They scoop us up in their particular vision that is a bit disconcerting, because it is entirely different from the one we were living previously.

And so it is that spring breaks rudely out of winter. It doesn’t give winter the time of day. There is no gentle hand-over, as it gatecrashes the bleak cold, softening the soil, and thrusting green shoots upward into colourful and outrageous life. Winter, where are you, and does anyone care? Long live spring.

Until summer that is, when all the exhausting dynamism of spring is quietly absorbed into the real deal: the long, lazy and languid growth of summer. Who wants spring all the year round? No, sir. Shocking revolution is replaced by laid-back evolution, amid the warm winds, endless daylight hours, and the slow but grand growth of the sunflower. To what shall we compare thee?

But, come that first week in September, summer is done. It never says as much, but you know. You can smell the change when you step out of the door: early morning, all chill and dewy. The confidence of summer is spent, as brown and mellow yellow ease across the landscape.

But golden October’s sweet pose, all melancholy and charming, colouring our world beyond imagining, deceives only the foolish — for such beauty is the forerunner of death.

Before we know it, the trees are bare, and every branch and twig is a sharp silhouette, like witches’ fingers against the wintry sky. The last leaves fall, and the cold wind penetrates all things, as red-berried holly sings hopeful songs in the sparse, chill and frozen earth. The ground keeps frosty silence — until the spring, of course.

So let those exhausted souls stop seeking him, for there is a time for everything. Instead, let “the wise” concentrate on taking down parish notices the day after the event. For the season is over.

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