"I hate the season of fall, except for the cooling temperatures," many say. Although different individuals enjoy various seasons of the year, my favorite is fall. Fall adds excitement, mystery and joy to life. Although winter comes right after fall that too provides briskness and energy. Nature seems at its best then. Spring and summer bring fresh growth and are a time to work and prepare for another year. So why would anyone prefer what some would call the winding down of life and the death of foliage and new life?
Yet another kind of growth comes with fall and the upcoming months that follow it. I look forward to those, also. The crisp temperatures put a spring in your step. The starched brisk air, unlike the lazy hot sultry heat of summer, gives a boost to energy. It's a time to ponder, snuggle before the fire and relax somewhat, unless you choose to lead a more vigorous existence. Daylight saving time gives way to the ordinary cycle of time. Light and darkness come when they are supposed to without thinking about the boost to the economy, cure for depression and other benefits that an extended period of light supposedly brings. Even though fall brings earlier darkness that seems to linger longer, I see that as a plus. There is more time for family amusements and camaraderie inside.
As I engaged in my daily walk last week, I walked on a sidewalk alongside a busy thoroughfare. The air was wonderfully curt and even somewhat windy. Even though the sound of traffic stole much of my peace and tranquillity that day I passed by woods filled with trees and plants still trying to hang onto their leaves. I looked upward toward the sky and stared spellbound at a flock of birds flying south. They were neatly arranged in their usual V formation. I marveled at the creatures' ability to know what to do, but their God-given instincts guided them to know that the fall and winter would be too cold and unsuitable for them to stay. They would perhaps starve to death.
I kept trying to shut out the noise of the fast traveling automobiles. Although it was difficult, observing God's handiwork made it possible.
Later that day I went trick or treating with two children. That, too, was awesome. Since our celebration of Halloween is built around what's good that too brought merriment and friendship. We talked with neighbors giving out candy and other goodies, and trooped up and down steps. Decorations were out in full. We saw nothing evil about what and how we celebrated. As usual, I made my traditional pot of chili and kept it warm on the kitchen stove. To add to the pleasantness of the occasion I lit a sweet cinnamon-roll candle. The smell spread all through the house.
Fall brings the promise of all kinds of special events and weather. The snow and yes, often ice, too, are all a part of the beauty and fun of fall. Then winter comes fast on its heels. One thing after another follows during those months so opposite from summer. Thanksgiving holidays come directly after Halloween, or the eve of All Saints Day, bringing warmth, good food and get-togethers.
Christmas, the birth of Jesus, is a major time of happiness, although many can't see it that way. Perhaps if we would just celebrate Christmas the way it ought to be, fewer people would become depressed, stressed and over worked. That is also a choice. No one actually has to follow the crowd and do all the shopping and other chores we feel are so necessary now. Any season can be a time of beauty and thanksgiving if we decide to view it as such, but fall colors, perky coolness and inviting experiences hold the most attraction for me.
Ellen Shuck holds degrees in psychology, religious education and spiritual direction and provides spiritual direction to people at her office.