To exercise, I enjoy walking three, four, or five miles around the lovely Brookside Gardens, a 50-acre public display garden in Wheaton, Maryland, just a few miles north of Washington, D.C.
Part of the Wheaton Regional Park system, Brookside contains a nature center, greenhouse conservatory, Japanese Teahouse, gazebos, labyrinth, and numerous walking trails.
I walk year-round, and it’s interesting how the garden underscores the uniqueness of the seasons. As I walk I often clear my mind of life’s ups and downs and focus on God’s goodness. Over the past several months I’ve noticed that each season illustrates one aspect of the Christian walk.
In winter the quiet stillness provides a natural intimacy with the Creator. The trees and shrubs are bare, and the pond is frozen over. Often the grass is covered with a blanket of snow, and except for a rare sparrow, the birds have migrated. I feel alone with God.
In spring the grass regains its color, the crocuses and forsythias blossom, and the trees begin budding. As the snow melts, you can hear the water flowing in the creek and even see a robin or two. For me, the rebirth of nature symbolizes the born-again conversion experience.
Summer brings the roses, azaleas, and magnolias, along with numerous visitors seeking an escape into nature. As temperatures rise, the garden’s calendar fills with weddings and other receptions. Summer reminds me that Christians are called into community with one another.
Autumn is marked by the golden leaves that glisten in the sunlight and the blooming hyacinths and witch hazel. But most important, as temperatures moderate, autumn is a time when ducks and geese migrate to warmer climates.
If our faith walk is consistent and true, we too will be migrating to a new home.
Carlos Medley is online editor of the Adventist Review. This article was published March 10, 2011.