Change of Seasons

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The calendar tells me it is the first day of fall……the temperature tells me we are stuck in the middle of summer!  We had temperatures in the 90’s today with humidity that literally sucked the energy right out of your body. I am in full agreement with whoever came up with the phrase, “It’s not the heat….it’s the humidity.”

It is easy to tell that we are in the middle of September when you look at the trees. When my husband and I were sitting on the porch yesterday we felt like we were being rained on….by locust leaves. The little yellow leaves just kept floating down onto the porch, the ground and it didn’t take long and we would have a leaf landing on us.

If you listen closely you can hear the rustle of dry leaves from the trees in the gully and from the corn and soybeans in the field. It is a sound distinctive to fall.

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About the only green thing around here would be the weeds and the lawn. It is hard to imagine that just a few weeks ago our lawn was brown and crispy. I was sure it was dead and that we were done mowing for the season….and then it started to rain.

I must confess I do like to see the green again. I am not quite ready to give up summer for what I know will be the cold of winter. We did end up mowing again this week.

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I told my husband that when you can rake windrows in your lawn after mowing, it was high time to mow it! I spent some time gathering up the dry grass to feed to the chickens later this year…when the lawn is actually dead. They love to feast on the fine blades of grass and it will be a wonderful treat when snow is on the ground.

It seems this time of year is spent preparing for the coming winter. Waterways get baled, grass gets stored for chicken feed, garden produce is put up and preserved for future meals, and soon we will hear the sound of combines in the fields and corn dryers running.

It seems like a frantic pace during this season. Perhaps it is because we know time is getting short to get all those tasks done.  It sometimes feels like there are not enough hours in a day…but I am glad when night comes because I am tired!

It has been so busy lately that we didn’t really notice exactly when the birds all disappeared. One morning we were sitting outdoors and noticed how quiet it was. No longer were the swallows swooping about snatching bugs from midair. The robin nests were empty and there wasn’t a wren to be heard.

The birds, or lack of them, are a pretty good indicator of the seasons.  The loud choir of birds in the morning has changed to the quiet rustling of drying leaves. The lushness of summer is quickly giving way to the golds and browns of fall.

Our lives tend to mirror the changing seasons. Some days feel like we are in the midst of the busyness of fall. Other times we feel like we are in the lazy days of summer. And then there are those times in our lives that we feel the sting of those cold days of winter. There is a beauty to each season and it is good to keep our eyes and hearts open to that beauty.

May you take time to enjoy the beauty of this fall season. May you be blessed whatever season of life you are in. And may you be comforted with the thought that if you are in a difficult season….it will change.

The question, “Which is the happiest season of life?”
was asked of an aged man.

And he replied: “When spring comes, and in the soft air the buds are breaking
on the trees, and they are covered with blossoms,
I think, ‘How beautiful is spring’;

and when summer comes and covers the trees with its heavy foliage,
and singing birds 
are among the branches,
I think, ‘How beautiful is summer.’
When autumn loads them

with golden fruit, and their leaves bear the gorgeous tint of frost,
I think, ‘How 
beautiful is autumn.’
And when it is severe winter, and there is neither foliage nor

fruit, then I look up through the leafless branches as I never could
until now, and see the stars shine in God’s home.

unattributed

 

The seasons are what a symphony ought to be:
four perfect movements in harmony with each other.

Artur Rubenstein

Celebrating Creation

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If it weren’t for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song.
Carl Perkins

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Everywhere I look I see the proclamation that Earth Day is coming soon. I thought I should google it (cause that is what I do when I want to find out something) and learned it is coming this Saturday, April 22!

I started looking through some photos and found some that I really like, that speak the beauty of God’s creation to me. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Half of the fun of looking through old photos you have taken is all the memories that come back with those pictures.

I was first going to use photos that I had taken on vacations and then I decided I should find the ones, that I love, that showcase the beauty that is in the area where I live.

Flowers are something I love and these yellow flowers were a perennial given to me as a small “start” by a friend, many years ago. Their spikes with the yellow blooms are wonderfully cheerful in my flower garden.

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. Luke 12:27

I also love to take photos of flowers…..though they are never as pretty as the actual thing.

All the seasons in our area have a different type of beauty. Winter can be cold and bleak around here, but there is a pristine, quietness about the landscape when it snows and freezes. There is a stillness that lends itself to a time of ponderings and dreams.

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“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

[Meditations Divine and Moral]”
Anne Bradstreet, The Works of Anne Bradstreet   

There is also a beauty when the leaves are turning yellow and orange. The air has a certain smell of fading leaves, the faint hint of wood smoke from campfires and dirt as farmers get the crops out of the fields. It is busy…but it brings a satisfaction of preparing for the cold of the coming months.

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“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
Albert Camus

At the end of the day. there are times when the moon is full and you can just sit on the porch and enjoy the quiet of the night time while that perfect ball shines down on you. Coyotes howl in the distance, birds rustle in the trees, and the world has settled down for a little rest.

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Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah
Psalm 89:37

 

Life can be so good! God is so faithful and I am so grateful. May you have time to ponder this coming weekend. I hope you have time to stop and look around at the beauty that is in your own backyard. And may you find rest and hope in the beauty the Creator has given. Enjoy the blessing.

“There are some places so beautiful
they can make a grown man break down and weep.”

Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang   

 

 

Home….A Sense of Place

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Years ago when my boys were in high school they had an English teacher who made the class write poetry on the topic  “Sense of Place”.  He wanted to know what spoke home to them.

They sat there stumped for awhile and I told them to just think about what they heard from their bedroom window, what they saw from that window, what it smelled like when they took a deep breath. (And yes some days it did not smell as fresh as others due to a wind coming from the direction of the huge dairy across the section.)  In other words, I told them to use all their senses and write what made home familiar to them.

As I sat on the porch this morning I started thinking about that poem they had to write and started trying out my own advice about what spoke home to me.

I thought back to an hour earlier when I had been picking the tomatoes in the cool of the morning. It was very quiet and a slightly foggy morning at our place. The kind of weather that wraps itself around you with all the everyday noises muted by the blanket of heavy air. It narrowed the world/home down to just me and my garden.

The fact that I got to  wander past purple coneflowers and black-eyed susans on my way to the vegetable garden was a bonus for the morning. They even looked pretty surrounded by the weeds and volunteer flowers that decided to grow on their own this past summer.

The birds seemed quieter with their morning songs today.  I am not sure if they had not gotten fully awake due to the hazy morning or if they were just easing me gently into the day.

Once I got my batch of pizza sauce started on the stove I could take the time to have my morning cup of tea out on the porch. I started looking around at my view from the front of the house and I came to realize I must be attracted to the shadowed, green, cool areas as my eyes always seem to wander to those places in my yard.

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I thought I should use all my senses so I took a whiff and noted that there is starting to be a slight smell of decaying leaves and plants that heralds the arrival of fall. The leaves of the locust trees out front are starting to rain down little yellow leaves whenever the breeze blows through the branches.

In the distance I could hear the neighbor chopping in the field across the river but I was distracted from listening to that as I realized I was having a visit from our Geranium eating squirrel.

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My girls were contentedly digging around in the hostas, rhubarb, and along buildings in their unending quest for bugs. The bugs are getting less and less as the days go by; and they are having to work a lot harder to get their fill of them.

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I came to the conclusion that home for me is anywhere my husband is. My sense of the place that is my home is made up of everything from chickens to tomatoes to squirrels to the weeds that persist in coming back to torment me every year. It is in the smell from the fields and the flowers. It is in the sounds of birds and equipment and frogs singing at dusk. It is the place where I am free to ramble on and it is okay.

There is a contentment to be found in having a sense of place, in knowing what makes home; home. The contentment that no matter what happens in the world this is still the safe place to come, sit on the porch, sip my tea, and watch what is happening in the cool shady places.

What speaks home to you? What smell, touch, sight or sound brings back that comfort of home?

The ache for home lives in all of us,
the safe place where we can go as we are
and not be questioned.
Maya Angelou

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