Thursday, September 30, 2010

Done with Summer

Like a willful child, I am dragged kicking and screaming away from summer. Bright dewy mornings, warm, sunny days, and frog-chorus evenings seem too sweet to leave behind. Wave after wave of color has dotted the landscape as flowers, each in turn, carried out their mission of attracting bird and insect. Fall slowly creeps in and the flowers - mission complete - are brown and dying. Some have stored their summer energy below ground and will rise again in the spring. Others, too tender to survive the winter, will depend upon the seeds they’ve produced to carry on. Just as Spring is the season of awakening, Fall is the time for passing. In an endless cycle, one thing changes to another.

As a child, I missed the carefree, lazy days of summer, but welcomed the crisp, expectant days of a new school year. In the dry Montana clime, leaves turned, dried, and fell. Yards, sidewalks, and boulevards became carpeted with them and their dusty, musky, smell and swishing sound when walked through remain with me still. Raking them before the snows came became a challenge - and a game. One of my favorite things was the making of “leaf houses”. Neighborhood kids would work together, carefully raking leaves into lines, forming imaginary walls of a gigantic mansion. Breaks in the lines became doors and windows, with intricate details telling you which was which. Equally intricate rules accompanied the various games we’d play around and within these houses. Woe be the kid who didn’t enter the house properly - through the “door”!

Other times we’d each make our own house, playacting as we visited each other and showed off our various “rooms”. Well-appointed homes were complete with leaf-pile “chairs”, “sofas” and “beds”. Designing and creating one of those dream homes took up hours of after-school time and sometimes a whole weekend. There was, of course, risk involved in this activity. An ill-timed windstorm or vengeful bully might easily destroy it all in a single evening, leaving nothing but scattered piles strewn across yards. After that, raking totally became a chore.

With frenzied days of growing, producing, reproducing, and storing nearly past, there is a collective sigh and tentative easing. It’s as if the entire plant world says “ENOUGH - time to rest.” Or, perhaps - “I’m done.” We could learn something here, I think...

Sunlight in Fall has a special, crystal quality unseen in summer. It is a good time to stop, take a deep breath and a close look at the world around us and our part in it. Could be it’s a time to sit back and rest; maybe regroup and shift gears. Maybe it’s time to close a chapter on some area of our life and then open another.

Bask in the waning rays and some silence, then listen to your soul. Winds and rains come, risk is everywhere, and the rules of life’s game are complicated. But there are doors that are open, a house that can’t be destroyed, and you’re always welcome.

“The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever."
Isaiah 40:7-8

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