It’s the leaves. They’re the harbinger of autumn and they’re already dotting my green lawn red. My girl, she picked one up last week and greeted it. “You’re not welcome here!” she stated matter of factly as she deposited it into the dumpster.
It’s not that we don’t love fall, we do. Both of us. I spent 13 years aching for the rhythm of northern seasons. Every September I’d decorate the inside of my house with colored leaves I bought at Michael’s and paper mache pumpkins I found at Hobby Lobby. I’d light apple scented candles and pretend.
But you can’t just conjure up the smell of a crisp, cold morning and the sight of misty fog hovering over the river or the taste of s’mores eaten by groups of sweatshirt clad teenagers at a bonfire. And there’s no simulation for meandering through an orchard and picking ripe apples off the tree.
Those lazy beach afternoons, they’re over.
And I wish I could stop everything from moving so fast.
Our kids growing up.
It feels like I just keep turning pages on the calendar.
The signs are everywhere.
The school bus squeals to a stop at the neighbor’s house promptly at 3.
The breeze carries the smoke of burning leaves wafting in through my kitchen window.
The first pumpkin cake of the season just came out of the oven.
The chrysanthemums, they’re ablaze outside my front door.
And as I type on my laptop, the Fall, it’s even etched into my bulging veins and wrinkly fingers too.
I glance down at the computer screen. It went to sleep while I studied my hands and my customized slideshow starts flipping through the favorites in my digital photo album. There are a handful of people rotating through my visual story. The ones who’ve walked with me through decades of seasons.
In wind and storms.
And I wonder how many miles we’ve walked together—figuratively and in our tennis shoes.
And I wonder how my kid’s lives might be different now had these dear ones not been praying for them.
And I wonder if my marriage would’ve survived if they hadn’t listened long and offered camaraderie and accountability.
And I wonder who I would be without the faithful wounding and bandaging of my friends.
Who would we be without each other?
We are all getting older, moving through our life cycle.
Pictures don’t lie. At least mine don’t since I’m not tech savvy enough to edit them.
And it’s Autumn.
That awesomely glorious, precursor to winter where everything goes dormant, lifeless, quiet and cold.
And I’m tempted to fight against it.
Then I remember my girl. The one who dumped the bright red leaf in the dumpster.
We drove together quiet to her first college class just the other day.
Then randomly, she commented, “I don’t want to go back to school.”
She glanced my direction and added this little golden nugget.
“I suppose we should just embrace it.”
And like an afterthought, she threw in, “We spend so much time resisting things . . .”
And she’s right.
And this is the life lesson.
It’s such a waste to squander the mercies instead of counting them.
So in my own personal Autumn I’m choosing to
Seize the day.
Savor the moments.
Let go of injury.
And live grateful for the ones who are helping me write my story.
Because every season has its own beauty for those who have the eyes to see it.