Marie West Johnson
As a young girl growing up in Olympia, it wasn't unusual to experience Indian Summers, those warm days that would linger into September and October. The autumns of my childhood hold precious memories—hot cocoa with marshmallows, harvest moons, migrating birds in the yard, my dad building a fire in the fireplace, hayrides at the Mima Mounds with the church youth group. Life was fairly simple then, at least that is how it seemed for this tomboy who much preferred a baseball mitt to a Barbie doll. And now Craig has taught me that Fall means FOOTBALL!
During those extended times of seasonal warm temperatures, you could usually find me perched high in the top of the large cherry tree that was in our backyard. My mom always complained that the cherries were "wormy", but I thought they were delicious as I sat high in the tree and ate till my stomach ached.
My entire summer wardrobe consisted of cut-off blue jeans and t-shirts, and yep, I ran around barefoot. I always had dirty feet and elbows, and bruises to prove I was a tomboy. Looking back, I realize how that old cherry tree must have been somewhat of a sanctuary for me. Besides offering a great view and cool shade, trees are just a miracle of creation.
My absolute favorite time of the year is Fall. I love the warm colors of yellows, oranges, reds that Autumn brings. The very air itself seems to hold a clean crispness as squirrels scamper around, greedily stuffing peanuts in their jaws, while dried leaves fall to the ground. I still love Fall.
After a few weeks of cool fall breezes, I would notice that my tree hideaway was becoming a little more sparse. All the colored leaves were now scattered on the ground beneath. I would jump down from the tree and shuffle my bare feet through the crisp leaves. This was the beginning of a long relationship between a tomboy girl and her Creator that would last for a lifetime.
I still like to gather up the prettiest and brightest fall-colored leaves as I remember the wonders of my childhood. Those impressionable years when I was discovering the God who’s marvelous handiwork is seen not only in autumn leaves, but throughout heaven and earth. And most gloriously, in my own backyard. As an adult, I am still in awe of the handiwork of our Creator.
Fall is a time for completion, transition and rest. Once the garden is put to bed for winter, the gardener can rest. As summer days grow shorter, daylight fades, and the leaves turn color, I am reminded that with God there are not only seasons for productivity, but also transition and rest. Longer nights and shorter days give us time for reflection and renewal.
There are a lot of unwelcome change in our world. Changes that brother me most when I turn on my TV or glance at the newspaper. We are all painfully aware that our kids and grandkids are growing up in a world far different from the one we knew as children.
But amid all the changes, one person, never changes—our eternal God. God does not change. He is always the same, always dependable. His truth, His ways, and His purpose do not change. Seasons will change, but our Creator is eternal.
The autumn of life is a strange mixture of nostalgia and blessings. It yields the harvest of seeds we’ve sown throughout life and steadies us for colder days to come. We’ve all suffered setbacks along the way, but Autumn is a great time to reflect on God’s wonderful blessings, family, friends, warm shelter, and community.
During life’s autumn, we have a richer perspective; I can count more blessings than ever before. We all know a wet, cold winter lies ahead, but when winter comes, can the promise of Spring be far behind?