by Christine Berglung

How many times lately have you heard people welcome the “crisp Autumn air” after one of the hottest summers on record? Wait! Air is not crisp! Apples are crisp, dry leaves are crisp, but air is just air. Warm air, cold air, air that makes your nostrils freeze, it’s still air.

Pardon me for being a little grumpy if you use that word in a good way to describe Fall!

For me, this is a dreaded perennial rite of passage for me. Because I deeply love my little weed patch that I affectionately call a garden, the beautiful autumnal weather is not ever as much a joy to me as it seems to be to others.

In all honesty, some of those same people will soon complain about the awful cold as their windshields become “crisp” in the morning frost. Maybe their joints feel a little too “crisp” in this colder weather.

Our area had its first hard frosts this week, and it meant saying goodbye to so many of my favorite flowers. The apples in this picture are long gone. We planted the tree too close to a school bus stop, and they became quick breakfast for hurried schoolchildren. I bought some nice apples to make cider this week. Hopefully, they are crisp enough to run through a juicer! Meanwhile, the leaves on this tree are falling off and turning very crispy.

It always saddens me to see the world around me dying. Beautiful, healthy plants are devastated overnight. My Knockout Rose hedge was in full bloom just last week. This week the flower heads droop dark and limp, as if bowing their heads in sorrow.  Fall seems just a precursor to the deadness and cold of winter.

In Winter little happens, and nothing moves but the cold breath of the North Wind as it breaks a few specks of icy whiteness from the crusty snow, so the helpless white pieces can stumble their way across the surface of the porch or driveway. Or worse yet, no snow.  Nothing to hide the evidence of Jack Frost’s finger of death on my beloved flowery friends. I dislike this cruel Winter, and therefore dislike the Fall that heralds its cold march forward.

If I force myself to focus on the big picture, however, I can see that Spring is not really that far away. The death of those zinnias, basil, and Shepherd’s Needle plants made room for the glorious cascades of yellow that my daffodil bulbs are getting ready to thrill me with. Late Fall and winter give us time to rest from the labors of the garden, and reflect on what we have done and continue to do with our little plot of earth that we tend.

The same goes for our spiritual lives. As we see another year pass, some of us in the Autumn of our years, we reflect. We regroup, we plan. We meditate about what was right and what was wrong in our lives and in the work God gives us to do. We then have a better sense of direction for the rest of it. We pick up the Bible before we pick up the seed catalogs. We get ready for a better harvest to come in a spiritual sense. We plan a better life lived for God, no matter what season we are in. And in the end, a life where there are no killing frosts.

“For everything there is a season” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV). Bring on the crispness! Let me learn from it.

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