It’s In the Air

This past week I have noticed a little nip in the morning air and several times as I have been letting Lexie out at night, I can catch a whiff of smoke from the first fires of the fall in people’s homes. I love this time of year. There is the slightest hint of color change in the leaves on the trees around our home and I am always reminded of my childhood – particularly raking leaves and then burning them out in the street. You can’t do that in the city anymore, but I still have my old rake with the blackened tines from years of raking and burnin’.

It was also the time of year when I spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s home working with Grandpa. As we pulled out annuals and trimmed back the perennials, we always took the debris back to his burning pile and at the end of the day, he would light the fire and we would sit on old tree stumps and talk. I really cherished those times with him. It was there, behind the garage, that I learned about God’s rhythms and the seasons of the year. How spring is a time of new growth, with plants growing stronger in the summer. Then the fall, when God provides the harvest and the land gets ready to go dormant in winter until God sends us a new surprise the next spring.

Although we lived on the south side of Chicago, Grandpa also owned 1600 acres of land in Jonesville, MI. I don’t remember going up there – I was very young – but Grandpa’s sister and her family farmed the land and took care of it. In fact, I think a number of my distant cousins still live on the farm. He would tell me stories about life on the farm and I learned about tilling the land and getting my hands dirty in the soil in the backyard. I learned about planting and then watching things grow until the harvest. My other grandmother taught me how to “put up” pickles, tomatoes, jams and preserves. Although I don’t “can” things anymore, I still think about it every fall. It kind of gets in your blood and I never completely forget about the fun of those days.

My grandparents had the farm because my mother loved to ride horses. She was allergic to them, but she loved it anyway. In fact, I don’t recall ever seeing a picture of my Mom riding with a handkerchief in her hand as she was holding the reins. Oddly, I remember her telling me that her favorite horse was Tinkerbell. She lived on the farm and Mom would go up to ride on the week-ends with my grandparents. Of course, this was way before I was around – I don’t think Dad could afford to keep up the horses for Mom once we kids came along. But once again, these recollections from my childhood always enter my mind during the fall.

And each fall, I would wash the lawn furniture and get ready to put it away for the winter. We also took the screens down on the porch off the dining room and put them away as well. The grill would get a final cleaning and anything that needed to be spruced up would be handled before it got much cooler. It’s not like we shut the house down or anything, but cooler weather came a little earlier in Chicago than it does in Indiana and so timing was everything.

I guess all this is coming to mind because on Saturday, the 22nd, we will officially enter the fall season. Another thing – when I returned from Dallas on Tuesday, Janet surprised me by having the fall decorations up and the Halloween stuff is starting to make its appearance.

I also took a copy of my favorite picture down to the cafeteria last Friday. It is a poster that used to appear each year as the front cover of the Chicago Tribune magazine. A boy, sitting with his grandfather on old stumps, watching the hay in the fields and contemplating the time of the Injuns and their war paint coming off as they passed through the trees – hence the colors of the fall. If you would like to read that post, it was called “Injun Summer” and you can search for it on our homepage, I’m sure you would enjoy it.

When it comes to a verse for the first blog of fall, there’s only one that really fits. It was one of Grandpa’s favorite and I have used it before. From Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, in the King James Version, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;”

My encouragement this evening is that God changes the seasons for a reason and His nature is there for us to enjoy in all its glory, throughout all the year. My prayer is that you will think of this season as a time to reap – not only what has been planted, but perhaps some of the seeds that you have sown in the lives of people may also bear fruit – fruit that will last and advance the kingdom of God. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…


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