Ode to Autumn

Fall. My favorite season.

I close the open windows of summer and bask in the new quietness of the inside. The spicy aroma of cinnamon, apples, and cloves overcomes the sweet fragrances of snapdragons, lilies, and roses. Nature walks lead to pockets full of pinecones, acorn hats, and fallen seed pods. Tree limbs bow, yielding to wind’s power. Leaves dry, crinkle, and . . .

. . . fall. They come down, and I receive their beauty like blessings. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). And we do see the shifting shadows around us. The shortening of days, the brisk movement of clouds across the sky, blocking the sun, casting shapes across hilly landscapes.

The thought that nature is hunkering down, preparing for dormancy, ushers me to stillness. Brings me to that place where I can utter, “Speak, Lord.” I feel the clutter drop from my life like the chestnuts from my neighbor’s tree, knowing that if I reach to pick up the busyness again I’ll be pricked by it.

Fall.

Ten years ago, he fell into my heart and sent down thick roots. And nine years ago, October 15, our I do’s not only fell on the ears of friends and family, but rooted deep into God’s heart. A holy covenant formed. That man of mine, he still falls a bit deeper every year. And when I fall, he catches.

I slip my feet into socks, the first time in months, and the threads hug my toes—a feeling that by January I won’t even notice, but now seems foreign. I light a candle. The soft glow from the string of white lights twining around my bookshelf seeps through my skin and brightens my heart. Tea on the stove, book in hand, afghan across my lap, and Strauss waltzes on the iPod. Thanksgiving floats through my soul as subtle and prominent as the pollen stirring up my sneezes.

And can I mention that great game? Football—the grinding of padded warriors working together, fighting, winning, falling. The delight of my loved ones, cheering, smiling, laughing, yelling at a television screen.

Yes, as an introvert, I love the intimacy of fall. The winding down, drawing in of nature. The time for gathering close what really matters—food for the soul—and storing it up for the barren seasons of life. Harvest time, a season of celebration for His provision. The garden finishes its offerings, and the dirty potato I pull up paints a silly smile on my face. I made this. I grew it. For this non-green-thumb, that sense of accomplishment is a grace gift.

Fall.

As a church musician, I pull out the Christmas music, begin to anticipate the bursting in of the baby Savior. The joy of the incarnation washes over me, like the pelting rain against the window. I let Christmas linger in the distance, the light at the end of the tunnel, and I keep my eye on it throughout the pumpkins, the football, the pilgrims, and the turkeys. Always, Christ coming . . . as flesh, as divine, into my life, wrapping around the sin and yanking it out by the roots.

Soup simmers on the stove next to the fresh applesauce, and so much simmers in my heart. Hopes for my children, quiet moments with my husband, prayers for the peace of the world, love for friends and family.

Fall. What do you love about it?

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