The air is crisp and chilled and tastes delicious. Trees explode from the greens of summer to the spectacular reds, and yellows and orang-ish browns of autumn that invite feelings of splendor and joy as the seasons change. Summer? Oh, yeah, it has lots of good and fun things about it: baseball and picnics, serious beach time, no school (no more pencils, no more books, no more teachers dirty looks), vacations with shorts and tees and …. well, fill in the blanks as to what summer means to you.
But Fall? Now you have got yourself a season. The dog days of August with endless heat and humidity give way to perfect daytime temps, and cool nights for sleeping with the windows open. Friday night lights is more than a TV show as high school football lights up every town, big and small with excitement, cheers, joy and tears. Girls with pompoms and short “uniforms” lead their teams in cheers of encouragement for the boys in uniform, and the smell of popcorn makes even grandma’s mouth water.
“What are you going to be?” is a common refrain echoed in every household that has a kid living there, and the coffers of many businesses, from candy makers to costume designers enjoy the fruits of their labor when Halloween finishes off the perfect month.
Farmers have cleared their fields of great crops of corn and wheat, returning the soil to rows of dormant, brown dirt waiting for spring plantings and the birth of another season under the sun.
Recipes for chili and stew and other comfort foods are dusted off and followed to perfection for the feeding of hungry families, in from the soccer fields and football practices. A new school year is under way and the quicker homework gets done, the quicker kids of all ages can dive back into what is really important…whatever is trending on social media at that moment. Click to your hearts content as you nibble on freshly made cinnamon apple donuts washed down by pumpkin lattes.
Yes, I love fall. I love the way that time changes and darkness envelops us like an invisible cloak from Harry Potter. Of course, when I was young, I hated that it got dark so early as we had to come in from playing with our friends earlier, and even had to go to bed earlier. But now, as a seasoned veteran of 66 seasonal changes, I embrace the idea of going to bed early.
Crisp air means crisp sheets which soon will lead to cold sheets. Cold sheets are easily fixable with the great invention of a heated blanket. But for now, crisp is good, in the air, between the sheets, and between the rising and the setting of the sun as the days grow shorter. For me at least, I even experience a crispness to my actions and thoughts, both at play and at work, when fall falls upon us.
I love fall. I love taking walks with my wife of 30 years and watching a sunset over Lake Michigan with the Chicago skyline in the distance from my perch at the sand dunes in Portage, Indiana. I love that she was born in fall.
I love the leaves that fill my yard as fall moves toward winter, which is a small miracle in itself as I have no trees on my property. I do enjoy the shade all summer, a gift from my three neighbors who have planted small forests on their properties, so raking leaves is a small price to pay for the free shade. In fact, raking leaves takes me back to the days of my youth when I lived in upstate New York and the hunters would come down from the hollow and have their kills checked by the game warden for compliance with “turkey kill rules”. In between hunters, we would run and jump in the piles of leaves.
The rolling hills of upstate N.Y. were so filled with colors as fall fell upon the towns and bergs. It was as though God used the normally green hillsides as a canvas that could never be duplicated by man or woman with a paint brush and a palette of man-made paints. Hold a maple leaf up to the sunlight after it turns to fall coloring and see the veins running through it, and marvel at the complexity of a single, simple leaf.
To all I say “soak in the warmth on those few days of a remembrance of summer past, and live each day with crispness and joy and remember that whatever you are experiencing at this very moment in your life, it is preparation for what is to come. God made you special, and He gives us seasons of life. Believe, love, trust, and enjoy each new sunrise, and thank your Creator for each sunset you are blessed with, and remember that a gift of another fall season is nothing to be melancholy about.
A simple look in a mirror and a time of reflection will reveal that you are so much more than a simple leaf that went from green to orange. Abundance surrounds you and just as surely as fall follows summer, whatever sadness that comes your way will be followed by a wave of joy. You are loved, if by nobody else than by your Creator, and isn’t that what really matters?
Go, take a deep breath and live the life that you were born to live…with the steadiness of the greens of summer and the assurance that the only constant is change, and like fall, you were put here to add your own special color to this thing we call life.