This past weekend, Tim and I biked to the season opening of our local farmers’  market to enjoy the sights and celebrate the end of a long winter. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the market ended up reminding me how important it is to recognize a season of peace when I see it.

What the heck is a ramp?

At the farmers’ market, one of the booths featured a large, handwritten sign that said, “Ramps! Get them while you can!” Neither of us knew what ramps were. Honestly, they just looked like sad, floppy greens. So we kept walking.

But curiosity got the best of us, so we ran a quick Google search on our smartphones and discovered that ramps, or “wild onions,” are one of the first springtime vegetables to rise from the frost-free earth. Foraged from nature, they have a short growing season which makes them a rare commodity.

Apparently, ramps are all the rage with chefs like Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse for farm-to-table recipes. We figured if these sad looking greens are good enough for Mario and Emeril, we ought to try them. We bought two bunches and headed home to see what we could make.

We need to pay closer attention to the seasons of life.

In the U.S., many of us are out of touch with the seasonality of fruits and vegetables. Cold storage and the global economy give us year-round access to apples, oranges and strawberries, as well as more exotic produce like pineapples, avocados, and kiwi.

I just heard that honeydew melons are being harvested. I can get them whenever I want them, so I never really thought about their growing season and when they naturally ripen.

Sometimes we can be just as inattentive when it comes to the seasons in our lives. There are some seasons that are cyclical, like the start of the school year. But there are other seasons that only come once, and if we aren’t paying attention to them, they pass us by and are never seen again.

Raising children makes you more aware of how quickly those kinds of seasons come and go. With any luck, these realizations cause us to slow down and be present in the moment. Rather than racing to the next season, we enjoy the one we are in and savor the joys that come with it.

Don’t ignore a season of peace.

The wisdom of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1), including a season of peace. The seasonality of our relationships creates some urgency to be fully present to the people in our lives.

Personal conflicts are a fact of life. Whether it’s family members or friends or co-workers, we’re bound to have disagreements that have the potential to fester and create rifts that are never fully healed.

When hurts or disagreements exist in our relationships, we need to look for a season of peace–an opportunity to reconcile and overcome our divisions. Like the ramps of spring, the season of peace in which it’s possible to strengthen a relationship or make amends may be short–lived. So quick, in fact, that Ephesians 4:26 tells us to not even let the sun go down on our anger.

Consumer culture encourages us to live virtual lives that are very disconnected from the concept of seasons. And in a culture of violence, a season of peace can go unnoticed and hidden from view by voices that tell us to stand our ground and justify our positions.

It took a sad-looking, wild plant to jolt me back to “real life” – a life that is filled with all kinds of seasons that are mine to live.

By the way, the ramps were delicious. We used this recipe to make ramp and mushroom crostinis!