There’s a tree a little ways down the road from where we live. It’s a huge oak tree that stands alone in the middle of a field. A couple weeks ago I noticed that the tree’s leaves had started to turn; a few brilliant red and orange leaves on the very top of the full green tree. I thought of how summer was definitely over and fall was coming. This morning I looked at that same oak tree as I drove by and was shocked to see that the whole top half of the tree was bare! The leaves had not only turned but fallen off. All it’s going to take is a good wind storm to blow off the rest. Where has fall gone?
I love this time of year, but it is so busy. The move from the lazy, hedonistic days of summer to the fast paced craziness of autumn is always a jolt. There’s usually not even time to mourn the end of summer! We are off in a never ending stream of work, school, activities, homework, meetings,and events. I want to notice that oak tree, but it’s so hard to do as I zoom by at 50mph. That’s why I cherish our annual fall weekend in the Adirondacks in New York state. We abandon all activities and commitments in order to head north and gather as a family and just relax….
I step outside, coffee cup clutched with both hands, and breath in deep the cool Adirondack morning. The air smells of leaves and balsam and wood smoke. The sun, having just crested the mountains, shines directly on the trees in front of me turning their yellow leaves into flames. It is still in this early morning light as I walk out onto the grass, my footprints showing in the heavy dew. Fog clings to the valley and hangs low over the lake nearby. A few birds chirp and a lone cricket holding on to summer are the only noises that I hear. I stand, watching the steam rise up from my coffee, and just breath.
This is needed. This time away from it all. Away from projects at work, the endless cleaning of my home, and all of our commitments. This is needed, this time to breath and enjoy the beauty around me. The mountains and trees and lakes that God has created. I am in my favorite place after all, the Adirondacks. A breeze stirs up the branches and handfuls of yellow pine needles tumble to the ground. Soon these pines will be the only color in a bleak brown landscape. I smile as I watch a squirrel scurry by, his face full of nuts. Today, still, there is color everywhere.
The sun hits my face, warming me and the air, and I know that my time is almost over. There are 16 of us crammed into our rental house. We all enjoy the mountains and the company, but peace inside is hard to find. Plans have been set for the day and I look forward to our run along the lake, hike high in the mountains, and a huge lively family dinner. I can already hear squeals and shouts and laughter coming from the 8 wide awake kids inside. As I reach for the door handle I turn around and once more take in the scene behind me. Fall is so fast paced and I am so glad to have this time, this memory, to stop and enjoy it’s beauty.
Make sure you too stop and enjoy the season before it disappears, slipping quickly into winter! If you do not live where seasons change, go to it. There’s nothing like a brightly colored tree on a crisp fall day!