Like it or loathe it – Makuru’s here!

January 6 2022 | Em Seinemeier

We’re in the middle of Makuru* here in W.A., it’s well and truly Oodie weather, and I’m wrapped up on the lounge with my laptop, watching the drizzling rain. Winter is so good for my soul – I come alive when the air is brisk, the sun’s intensity dial has been turned down a little, and hot tea is abundant. Morning walks and misty breath. Big jumpers and spicy curry. Inspiration and motivation are at their easiest to come by somehow, even for things I’m tempted to procrastinate. I’m a fan! What about you – are you with me on this, or entirely unconvinced?

I’m far from a gardener, but I’ve become proficient at pruning roses over the years, each July strategically cutting back straggly lengths in preparation for the quiet hibernation ahead, before spring reawakens them once again. At first glance, it’s easy to assume that there’s nothing of value happening as plants lie dormant- just a collection of stumpy ends with no signs of life. Yet, scaled back, in the damp and dark, all the elements needed for transformation, beauty and thriving are there. Waiting.

Nature seems content with the unhurried rhythm of the seasons, plant life and animals alike discern the season and respond accordingly. Less so most humans! This week is a prime example … in mid-winter, the news is declaring a scandalous lettuce shortage – seven dollars for a lettuce, the outrage! I’m afraid I can relate; I complain if broccoli and cauliflower aren’t available all year round – the truth is that most of us are just not accustomed to accommodating the ebbs and flows of the seasons. There’s an illusion of control, we expect to enjoy fresh produce on demand, flowers whenever we so desire. We climate control our homes, workplaces and vehicles to suit our preferences. Until we can’t, when our supply and demand systems break down due to flood/ fire/ pandemic/ energy shortage/ insert scenario here.

The traditional custodians of these lands hold so much wisdom in working harmoniously with the seasons, sourcing food, working with the weather conditions, and stewarding plant and animal life with the whole cycle of the year and the wellbeing of the land in mind. Elders tell us this is not some rose-tinted theory- this is super practical, grass roots stuff, and certainly not always easy.

Jesus loved to tell stories that connected the hearers back to nature. I’m sure part of that was because of the agrarian society he lived in, but then as now, talk of soil and seeds and seasons has a wonderful way of grounding our reality in deeper perspective, doesn’t it? (Pun intended.) And then, as now, Jesus’ stories have us scratching our heads quizzically- big faith from tiny seeds? Lost sheep? Fig trees, weeds or grains of wheat? In John, Jesus describes himself as the True Vine and his Father as the farmer, inviting us to be joined to the vine – grafted in. Here, we can receive his life, be tended to, and thrive in our interconnectedness,

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you… I am the Vine; you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.” (John 15:4-5 MSG)

In the vineyard, there are seasons of new growth, fruitfulness, of pruning and dormancy, and we will experience them all, there is no promise of an exception. But we will experience them in the close company of Jesus, in whom we have our home. Rather than denying, avoiding or controlling, we’re welcomed into abiding in all seasons, leaning into the rhythms of grace.

This Makuru, I’m reminded again that regardless of what I see when I look at my roses, God is always present and at work in the world. Rather than watching from a comfortable distance, God chooses intimately and wholeheartedly investing into God’s beloved creation, throughout all seasons. So, I’m pondering what this means for me this year – perhaps you’d like to join me?

When the conditions are right, I’m feeling productive, and life is working as planned, future potential is easy for me to spot. What about when I experience life as unpredictable and unimpressed by my sense of order? What grounds me and offers hope regardless of the season?
How do I go noticing and respecting seasons around and within me, especially when they are not my preference? Can I trust and respect the rhythm, or am I easily frustrated, reactive and rigid?
While I can be temporarily patient with the bare crowns of my roses, how often am I quick to judge other matters when it appears there’s no obvious growth or activity? What is missed when I react prematurely?
How do I find waiting? At traffic lights? For others? For answers? For outcomes?
How might I practice abiding in Jesus – being at home in him, living with gentleness and purpose in the world?
What other questions do you have for the list?

Happy Makuru!

Em Seinemeier

*Makuru: the coldest and wettest time of the year, when traditionally people move inland from the coast, and many of the native wildlife can be seen pairing up and preparing for breeding season in Djilba. Find out more at Derbal Nara website:

  • Em Seinemeier

    Pastoral Supervisor, Mentor, Trainer, Coach

    A skilled and seasoned practitioner, Em offers a brave and safe place for courageous conversations...

  • Em Seinemeier

    Pastoral Supervisor, Mentor, Trainer, Coach

    A skilled and seasoned practitioner, Em offers a brave and safe place for courageous conversations...