We experience the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter in England. Naturally, some people prefer one to another. The one thing that we can hope for, though never predict, is good weather. Good weather determines how much we enjoy our favourite season, which for many is a hot summer, unspoilt by cold wind and prolonged periods of rain. As is often the case, what might be one person’s ideal is another’s disappointment. Take our summer in East Anglia this year. The good weather worked well for those enjoying holidays but the rain came at the wrong time to swell some of the cereal crops. The result was that harvest finished in good time but the quality of the grain was poor. The summer extended itself to give a warm, sunny autumn - a relief to those who did not look forward to the cold, wet and shorter days of winter. The downside of this warm, dry autumn was a disappointment for those who looked forward to the rich warm colours of gold, orange and reds of the hedgerows and trees as they drop their leaves and shut down for the winter. The trees which take on their autumnal hue the earliest began to look very sorry for themselves by letting their leaves hang in a state of depressing, limp dejection. Others let their leaves dehydrate, become a dirty brown-grey colour and form an unsightly carpet on the ground. What had gone wrong? It was simple. There was no rain for the trees to draw sugars up to their extremities to produce the rich colouring in their leaves. What a disappointment to those who enjoy walking leaf-strewn paths of the countryside and woodlands.
But the rain did come to the rescue. Disappointment turned into an appreciation of an English autumn with all its rich colours to enjoy. That joy and appreciation was not short-lived either for the expected colder weather with night frosts, interspersed with windy weather did not accompany the rain. We had a long and beautiful autumn.
What is our reaction when we know that things are not going to work out as we hoped they would? It is all too easy to close down, shrug our shoulders or walk away. Perhaps we are too quick to admit defeat. Do we shy away from the expected discouraging things that we know people will say about us? We already feel bad so why make it worse? Why not just admit that we have failed! It is far easier to shut down and protect ourselves.
We could, on the other hand, believe that there will always be the possibility of things working out in the end – so why give up? How do we respond to the prospect of disappointment? Perhaps we need to be patient, give things a chance to work out. We might discover that what we thought we had lost was attainable after all.