Journey Mercies . . . Memories of Fall

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!

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Molly grew up in and around funeral homes her entire life. In 2009 she began working for O'Connor Mortuary and found a bridge between her passion for writing and her interest in grief and bereavement. In 2016 she earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. She is honored to be able to write about these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective.


  1. Patricia Kolstad says:

    You have a wonderful sense of beautiful . . touch, feel, hear, smell, see! It was delightful reading your expressions of of how fall comes alive for you. I sense that you are truly a fall person, as you describe the textures of your experiences. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. Certainly we are the recipients of your gifts.


  2. Lórien Eck says:


    I truly enjoyed reading your blog… especially the fun anecdotes about your family and of course, what you all like to do.

    What I love most about fall is:
    changing of hot to warm, to cool, to cold….
    the color orange, everywhere!
    Pumpkin, everything!
    the leaves… even if it’s simply through other people’s fall foliage photos…
    the hope of what’s to come, as the seasonal change brings a feeling of transition in the air for all of creation, thus movement, growth, and shifts
    change of the closet- fabrics, textures, and layers!
    the feeling of warmth and comfort that a fire in the fireplace, a hot cup of tea, and snuggling up on the sofa with a good book or journal
    the energy in the air of gathering, pulling in, and nesting…

    What I love to do:
    long walks on the beach bundled up in scarves and down with the cold breeze on my face
    watching beautiful sunsets where the sun has moved just so…
    baking yummy cookies and treats
    traveling without the crowds of summer
    bundle up in wool, cashmere, boots, and hats…
    take the time to reflect more and take advantage of more time indoors to study, read, write, and create without “guilt” from the sun and sand!

    These are just a few of my favorite things about the Fall season….
    I am grateful for all of the beautiful sharing that I’ve read here and look forward to more!
    Much love Patricia and all!


  3. Kristen says:

    Hi Mom,

    I love this post! I’m hoping to hit every one of your bullet points with the girls before the season’s end! Join us? I know this time of year holds some not so pleasant memories for you regarding Nana and Grandpa Gordie, but the beauty of that pain is that it reminds you (and us all!) to really savor the season wih the ones we love. I love Autumn so much (and I LOVE having a sister who is Fall’s number one fan!) and all of the warmth and closeness it brings to my life. Some of my favorite things to do as the weather cools are planting winter vegetables; soup, soup, and more soup (especially that Italian Wedding–a favorite of my little tribe!); knitting for the Holidays; making leaf angels with the girls from the fallen leaves of the backyard Japanese Maple; walks around the neighborhood all bundled up; baking copious amounts of bread! I could go on and on, Momma! Thank you for the reminder to slow the pace and relish this delicious season! Looking forward to your birthday! I love you.

    • Patricia Kolstad says:

      Dear Daughter . .
      Some of my best memories are with you and the “little ones”. I’m so glad that we still have little ones in the family. There is nothing better than looking through the eyes of a child as they experience something for the first time! What joy!

      Yes, Yes, Yes! I will definitely join you at Tanaka farms and Oak Glen. It’s time! Fall brings out the best in folks, I think.


      • Kari Leslie says:

        Mom & Kris,

        Make sure that invite makes it to my part of the family tree!! I would love to go with you both and the babies to the Farm & Apple picking!! Pray pray pray for a relief to this heat!! Let’s light the fireplace and snuggle on my couch with the Nina’s!


        • Patricia Kolstad says:

          Kari . . . you know that you would never be excluded from our little escapades! Beside, it’s another opportunity for Madd Dawg and Frodo to have another adventure. We have the best time when we are all together.
          Making memories is what’s it’s all about!

          I love you dearly,


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