Ready or not fall is here.
Yesterday, we celebrated Labor Day here in the States, the non-official end of summer. The day which, in times past, marked the end of wearing white clothing until Memorial Day arrived the following May.
Pools close. Campers return home. Family vacations, for the most part, end. Summer becomes a memory. Cooler temperatures arrive. Leaves change color. We move into a time of transition toward winter.
Children and teachers return to school and the new school year begins. In this time of COVID, that return could mean virtual or in-school learning. As a former elementary school educator, I can tell you with full assurance, children are not the only ones with mixed emotions about heading back to the classroom. Especially now.
I grew up on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., in the Maryland suburbs where we had four distinct seasons. Winter, spring, summer, and fall.
Then I moved to Florida where we had two seasons. Hot and hotter. I live in coastal Texas now. Here we have two seasons as well. Hurricane and non-hurricane. We’re currently in hurricane season until November.
My favorite season has always been fall. Growing up, I looked forward to it. And yes, I was one of those peculiar individuals who eagerly anticipated the start of a new school year. Perhaps that’s why I went into teaching.
I looked forward to the crispness and distinct scent that accompanied falling temperatures. Crunching fall-colored leaves beneath my feet never failed to delight. I raked those leaves into huge piles near our backyard swing, then jumped from the swing when it was in mid-air into the leaves below.
When I grew older, every autumn I visited an orchard, purchased just-picked apples, and turned them into fresh baked pies. To me, one of the finest aromas to come from a kitchen is the smell of cinnamon and sugar baked into an apple pie.
For the first five years following my move from Maryland to Florida, I made a pilgrimage to Maryland each fall. I missed it that much. I was like a migrating bird. Something about fall pulled me back.
During each trip, I drove to the same orchard in the country, purchased a peck of apples, took them home with me to Florida, and baked pies in a very unseasonably warm kitchen.
I haven’t returned to Maryland in autumn for many, many years. Although I still enjoy the changing of seasons, the desire to be in the middle of it has faded. I guess I’ve grown used to living in a land of two seasons.
For five years I did whatever it took to experience fall. A desire deep within me longed to embrace the beauty, enjoyment, and pleasure I remembered.
As I consider my fading desire to return, I am cautioned not to let my desire to draw closer to God fade as well.
Perhaps in our current situation, we might be living in a land of two seasons. With God or without. We might find ourselves sliding from desiring the one, while living in the other. The desire to do whatever it takes to experience the beauty, enjoyment, and pleasure of being in the Savior’s presence might have faded.
If we find our self in that place we need to remember, when we seek God, he will pull us to himself just as surely as autumn pulled me to Maryland.
Ready or not, fall is here. It is a time of transition. A time to switch gears in preparation for what’s ahead. It is a time of harvest. And for me, a time to bake apple pies.
I wish you well.