Living in south Florida, I get to experience a unique coastal beauty every day that most people only get to enjoy on vacations. Last night, my husband and I made a quick decision to take our daughter to the community pool before it closed. We were both in awe of our surroundings. It was dusk and the sky was pink and gold. Birds flew overhead and filled our hearts with wonder. The water was warm and thankfulness overwhelmed us as we enjoyed time with our little family. But it’s almost October and the beginning of the season that makes me most homesick; Fall.
Maybe God made this season so beautiful to ease those in the north into the cold winter months. I don’t know. But to me fall has always held me captive with its delightful, comforting power. Fall is sun-kissed, cool air that melts away the heat of summer. It is crunchy, swirling, light-hearted leaves of bronze and gold that make the season feel rich. It is the smell of home-cooked, hearty meals that are best when they’re savored and shared. It is the feeling of family, of coming together after time apart, of reuniting and receiving back a special part of your heart for a little while. Fall in our home is football, the Kansas City Chiefs, and cheering them on from afar. It is putting on a comfy sweater and laying back in the brown-green grass to embrace the chill of the solid ground and allow the autumn sun to warm you from above. It is wonder and joy and rest and flavor and friendship.
Fall is also a season of harvest, of reaping what you’ve sown during the year.
Around this time, we all begin to wonder where the year went. We look back and question how we spent our time and dwell on what we have or have not accomplished. We must accept where we have fallen short, we rejoice in our triumphs, and we look toward the new year with hope for the future. Fall restores me. Not the kind of fall I’ve experienced in Florida, although there is a sort of expectation that fall will bring some sort of break to the blistering heat. But fall where I grew up, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, restores my soul. I think you can feel the earth prepare itself for winter. The roots on trees grow deeper, holding fast to what will sustain them through the long grey months. Animals finish up they’re busy gathering and begin to rest. You can sense the quiet anticipation in the woods. It is not the season for growth and stretching, but for being filled up, for receiving, and becoming still.
Toward the end of fall, after the leaves lose their green and gently fall to the ground, after the many hues of richness fade, the once vibrant mountains become bare. They seem older somehow. You can see the lines on their faces better. You can hear the tall giants creak, their eons-old bodies groaning in decay. Yet they stand strong, waiting for Creation to be renewed. They make me feel small and I like that. They remind me that I’m part of something much bigger than myself, that my world is so miniscule compared to theirs. I think that’s why I love fall at home; it puts me in my place, in a family, in a community, in communion with Creature, Creation, and Creator. It is more than a season; it is an annual replenishing of my heart. Fall fills me and reminds me to rest in order to prepare for whatever lies ahead.