The first day of autumn arrived this past Friday, at 4:35 A.M. CST. As I went to bed the night before, I thought about waking up at that hour in order to celebrate that historical event, but at the last minute, decided against it. After a record-breaking hot summer, the temperatures had finally begun to drop from the triple digits we had experienced throughout the summer. It may not seem like fall, for the temperatures still reach into the nineties, but it has begun, regardless.
Even as the fall is in its beginning stages, I began contemplating the coming winter. I have seen some seventy-two winters in my lifetime, not that I am boasting for many of my peers have seen more than have I. Winters come and go as do other seasons.
One morning this week during our ritual of letting the dogs run, I had settled into a restful posture underneath the pines by my small pond. Never mind that the pond had dried up long ago during the extreme heat. As I was sipping on a hot cup of coffee, I watched a leaf from the Sycamore tree, auburn in color, drift gently from its perch and land ever so softly on the ground below. I noticed that other leaves from assorted trees were falling as well, a meteoric-like shower of color descending. Even leaves must succumb to the law of gravity.
Isn’t it odd that we notice things that fall but rarely do we notice things that rise? Such as the moon, bubbles, smoke, blood pressures, tempers, bread, helium, heat, the sun, gas prices, well, maybe we do notice things that rise.
As I move from my perch under the pines, I began to think about how nature correlates with life. I picked up a golden leaf and turned it over. The veins were very symmetrical. They seem to mirror the veins that course through the human body. Coincidence? Not likely!
Noting that just as the coffee warms my insides and prepares my body to accept the change, I am reminded that everything under the sun begins to prepare for the winter. And, autumn is the season for preparations.
One can see squirrels busily burying nuts, far more than they could possibly consume in three winters, much less one. The hummingbirds are in a feeding frenzy at the feeder, storing up as much energy as they can possibly contain in preparation for migrating to warmer climates. Insects such as bees and wasps are busy preparing their homes for winter. Now that the temperatures are cooler, most have already selected the best place to build a nest or hive in places I do not wish them to be, so the colony can hibernate until spring.
Winter is not here yet, but it is coming. I do not anticipate the cold with glee, yet I must prepare for winter as well. Just how do humans prepare for winter? Some may be storing up body fat. Guilty as charged, however, that aspect is not confined to preparations for winter.
We pull out our warm coats and sweaters, put our storm windows up, cut firewood, and winterize our vehicles with new tires and antifreeze. This reminds me, I must also winterize the kennels for the dogs as well.
Humans utilize many aspects of nature in our winter rituals. Although some celebrate Christmas as a secular event of winter and others ignore it completely, it is the celebration of the birth of Christ. I love Christmas time, with the white pine or spruce Christmas trees and holly and mistletoes decorations. How many of us have a garland of real or wooden red berries on our fireplace mantel or Christmas tree, or have a cardinal or bear ornament in our house? We bring into our home these aspects of nature because they represent peace and beauty.
Everything that we experience shapes the way that we interact with life. It is not by coincidence, not by chance, but rather by design. You may not consider yourself a religious person, but you must consider a design of nature. It is not happenstance. There is nothing coincidental about the way things are put together.
All of nature, including us, have adapted in some way to surviving and preparing for the seasonal changes. Winter is a time for meditation, reflection and change, not gloom. So put your warm sweater on, light a fire in the fireplace, heat up some tasty hot chocolate, grab a good book, and enjoy what winter has to offer.
But today we are in the early stages of fall. The leaves are falling.
Have a great day.
Pete Robertson © September 2011
I really enjoyed this one, Pete. You are certainly blessed with the gift of writing. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.
Neat introspection and imagery!
Today I will settle for my bowl of chocolate ice cream in lieu of the hot chocolate. lol
Fall is finally here!
And to think I just got my a/c fixed. But better to have it fixed now than wait until the springtime. Come to think of it, I may still need it for a while, as the fall weather seems to be arriving slowly this year.
So slowly that I had to put the roses on drip to keep their leaves from drooping. And I found one beautiful bush had been dug up by something ~ not the dogs ~ as there wasn’t a big glaring hole to boot.
Another thing the fall weather brings in the early mornings is the need to watch carefully for the creepy crawlers that are hungry now and have venom in their fangs.
I know one man who will step a little more carefully out the front door now, as he happened to step on the rattler lying in wait for smaller prey. He spent several days in the hospital and is going to be okay, but scared everyone as his ticker is not what it used to be.
Glad we made it through the summer. Glad to see fall arrive. And most glad to see our Christmas season around the corner. So we will make a joyful noise unto the Lord for his many blessings and another year!
This year I think I will try to savor each and every day, as the years fly by way too fast for all of us.
Just trying to remember that someone out there needs a smile, perhaps at the post office ~ or sharing the beauty of the leaves with others ~ these things brighten our days.
I think the long winter nights are there for a reason, as long summer nights are not a necessity. The winter nights give us the time we need for remembering and loving those and our Lord, as well as His ways and flora and fauna.
Thanks for a great way to remember as the winter approaches. We miss so much when we miss the falling leaves…the harbinger of our wintery cold yet to be. Beginning to wonder if it will really get cold this year. lol