Journey Mercies . . . Memories of Fall
There’s a change coming, a really comfortable change. I love the fall and when I was a kid fall meant the start of school and seeing my friends again. Halloween was coming and so was my birthday. It meant Thanksgiving. It meant that it was almost time for Christmas!
Now that I am older, I can reflect much more deeply about how much I love this time of year. The days are shorter and the air is crisp. Trees that were a common green are now vibrant with color. Beneath my feet is the crackling sound of dry sycamore leaves. Messy as they are, they always reminded me that fall was here. There are smells in the air that weren’t there before. Where barbequed burgers and steaks pierced the afternoon breeze, now pots of homemade Italian Wedding Soup and fresh baked Rosemary Bread waif through the house. Can’t you just smell it?
Fall means having my family around me. I love that more than anything. And gathering at Thanksgiving is much more purposeful than ever before. I realize more and more that being truly thankful is more than saying a prayer at the feast. It’s about being thankful for each day and making the most of the time you have with those you love. It’s about the giving and receiving of Grace. In other words, from a sermon I heard long ago, God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is unmerited favor. We can be thankful for it and we can be the bearer of it. We accept grace freely, but we also need to be more mindful of showing it too!
Fall is slower, easier. It means lots of fleece and warm scarves around my neck. It’s hot chocolate or Pumpkin Spice Starbucks, a great movie like Little Women or Pride and Prejudice, and a big comfy blanket to curl up with. It’s watching It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown with my grandkids like I did with my own kids when they were small. It’s helping them carve pumpkins and roast Pumpkin Seeds.
And then there’s the best of sports! The “Boys of Summer” in the playoffs, and the World Series. College and professional football have taken over and will permeate our lives from now until the end of winter. There will be wagers made with friends, sons and dads on whose team will make it to Super Bowl. It’s already started here at work, and it’s brutal! And if you live near a high school there will be Friday Night Lights, where you’ll hear the rumble and the screams of a game well played. There’s nothing better than going to a high school football game, bundled up for fun!
Just like anytime of the year, this season brings back memories of family that I miss so much. My dad and mom both died in the fall. The holidays I cherished so much were not as sweet and fulfilling those years. Even though part of my life was emptied of their presence, in my heart I cherish the memories and photos that are sweet reminders of the times when we were all together. I reminisce on both the day of their birth and the day they died. It reminds me how important our relationships are and how we should never forget to say those heartfelt words to those we love and treasure. Do it today – don’t wait another minute!
Fall also brings Daylight Savings Time. This year we “fall back” on November 4th. Who decides this kind of stuff? Looks like this change came from the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Pretty soon we’ll be waking up in the middle of the night and it will be 8:00 am! We also have coming up the Presidential Election. This year it “falls” on my birthday.
Here’s some things my family loves to do:
• It’s apple-picking time! If you’ve never been to Oak Glen Apple Orchards near Yucaipa, where you can pick your own apples, you don’t know what you’re missing. Spend a day there with your family and you’ll experience fall at it’s best! They have a pumpkin patch, too!
• And there’s nearby Tanaka Farms in Irvine, where you and your kids or grandkids can take a cart ride out to the vast 30-acre field where you can pick pumpkins or vegetables till your hearts content. They have a corn maze and an area where you can take your fall photos surrounded by hay bales and pumpkins. It’s open from September 28 to October 31st. The cost is very reasonable so check out their website. Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch
• Finally, when my kids were younger, our street was lined with huge sycamores, and I mean 30 feet or more. On a blustery fall day when the wind would whip through the trees tossing dried leaves everywhere, they would run after them and try to catch them before they fell to the ground. If you’ve never played “leaf catch”, it’s a whole lot harder than you think. Try it!
So, fall can be many things to many people. But mostly, fall is all about change. It’s all about transformation and the shedding of the old to wait patiently for the absolute beauty of the new.
I’d love to hear what you like most about fall and what you like to do!