One hot morning the other week, I was startled to hear the CBC radio show Tempo featuring the autumn movements of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and other such classical favorites.
I was startled because that morning in Ontario, the temperature was hotter than we’d experienced for most of the summer! But it was indeed the first day of autumn. Julie Nesrallah, the program host, noted that while some people in Canada sported sandals that day, others bundled up to cope with the first snowstorm….
Fall has been my favorite season for as long as I can remember. As a child, I connected it with the start of a new school year. I loved school, and found its restart a welcome change from a summer that usually got boring by the end. The crisp air gave energy, and the coloured maple leaves in Pennsylvania shone with a beauty beyond compare.
So this year, I’m sad that the hottest day of the year didn’t happen here in Ontario till early fall. The maples are muted…stopped in their tracks…and until cooler nights arrived this week, it was hard to get into the spirit. Nonetheless, here are some of my joys this fall. They’re bittersweet joys, heralding as they do the end of nature’s growing season.
From nature: Yellow sunflowers still standing tall; others drooping, already brown…. Displays of pumpkins and gourds and mums at rural farm markets….The morning golden hour with sun reflecting on treetops, making them seem more orange than they are….An incredible orange and pink sunset with many small fluffy clouds in the sky.
And in the countryside on a Sunday evening drive in the heat I saw:
Tall rows of corn waiting for harvest…Early evening sunlight glowing over fields, reflecting on the sides of barns…Apple trees at Martins Family Fruit hanging low with fruit…Old Colony Mennonite youth playing baseball at the ball diamond at Three Bridges School… Fifty Old Order Mennonite youth playing an unfamiliar game in a large field, the boys looking identical in their white shirts, black ties and black pants, the girls shining in lovely dark solid coloured dresses – deep blue, deep green, or rich purple.
Of course I missed the intense reds and oranges and yellows of sumac, maples and oaks. I missed them reflected in ponds. I missed the invigorating chill through a jacket. Maybe now that it’s finally turning cooler, some of these things will still happen this year….
At church, I enjoyed kids bouncing with energy on the first day of children’s Sunday school after the summer break (I don’t have to teach them!). I appreciated the start of committee meetings again, after a summer off from most of them. I anticipated the first gathering of our book club at the local women’s prison, as two friends and I entered our eighth year of conversation with inmates about books and life.
Back at church, we put the finishing touches on our building renovation – painting, laying carpets, affixing interior signs, getting ready for an open house for the neighborhood and for folks from local churches. The highlight for me was the hymn My Life Flows On, adapted for choir and instruments by a young adult composer and musician in our midst….
Autumn – a time to celebrate natural bounty and beauty, and to grieve the end of a season. Yet also a time to renew energy for worship, for learning, and for projects at church and in the community. Autumn – my favorite season.
Questions for Reflection:
- Which season of the year is your favorite? Why?
- What cheers you this fall? What causes you to grieve?
Next week: My favorite Thanksgiving hymns