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“This Time and This Season” by Chanel Earl

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

This Time and This Season

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.

A time to be born, and a time to die. And a time for your husband to die, which happens in the dead of winter when you least expect it and don’t want it. And a time to be treated like a child, to be forced to move into your daughter’s home even though you should be taking care of her and not the other way around.

In spring, a time to plant, and a time to water, and a time to dig and a time to garden so hard that you distract yourself from the things you don’t want to think about.

A time to kill, but really let’s hope that you only kill weeds, and try to forget that you sometimes wonder if it would be better if the weeds killed you. And a time to heal—you could go for more of that time because healing seems to be rare these days.

A time to break down, and a time to build up, in no particular order, and maybe you feel like you are going through these times over and over again.

A time to weep alone, and a time to weep with others, mostly with that daughter you live with. A time to weep with joy, but mostly with grief. And a time to laugh, but since the weeping takes so long, the laughter may be later than expected, and it may only come after some effort on the part of your grandchildren.

A time to mourn, which seems like all the times these days. The mourning colors the rest, and fills all the time, even the laughing and the breaking and the building.

And a time to dance. Again, mostly with the grandchildren, sometimes in the garden, and sometimes you just watch the dancing instead of participating.

A time to cast away stones, which is why you are gathering them together: to cast them out of your garden where they weren’t helping anyone.

A time to embrace your daughter, to thank her for opening her home to you, for giving you your own space, for caring and waiting for you to find the embrace she was saving for you to be ready for.

A time to get, to harvest, to grow, and a time to lose it all as winter begins.

A time to keep silence, to hold your husband in your heart next to your daughter and grandchildren. To watch the snow rise in the garden, giving it a rest before the next season, and to remember the sorrow of your last winter, sometimes to carry that for yourself alone, but sometimes to speak, to share it.

And a time to love. Your favorite time. Even when it is time to hate, you hold on to the hope of love, wondering if there will ever be a time when seasons end and only love is left.

This piece was published in 2023 as part of the 12th Annual Mormon Lit Blitz by the Mormon Lit Lab. Sign up for our newsletter for future updates.

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