Fall is coming!
Shout it from the rooftops. Write it in the sky. Fall is coming! After three months of sweltering ninety-degree humidity with the heat index in the 100s, fall is coming.
I see you pointing at the calendar. Actually, you say, fall begins on Thursday, September 22.
Nope. It’s coming. I feel it. The other day when I looked at the forecast I saw that the temperature is finally, finally taking a dip. Lows are falling into the blessed sixties and even, for a night or two, the fifties. Dawn is coming later and later each day, and I finally got to glimpse a full moon on my morning walk a few days ago. There will be some heat spikes and the temperature will vacillate, but I know in my heart that summer is coming to an end. I am elated.
Fall is my high season. I am my happiest self from September right on up through Christmas. I love autumn colors and seasonal decorations. I unironically enjoy pumpkin-spice-flavored everything. Fall is everything I treasure: the smell of wet leaves and cool rain, apple cider, warm coffee and hot chocolate, cool evenings, holidays and hay and time spent with family, sweaters and long walks and pumpkins everywhere.
This is also the time of year I start wanting to put the brakes on. Because fall moves fast.
The apples and pencils of the school year in September give way quickly to Halloween to Thanksgiving and then to Christmas; the glorious days of sixty-degree weather and long meandering fall walks will soon fall into a flurry of ice and snow. This is the time of year, I suspect, that it is easiest to get lost – to forget ourselves and everything that matters beneath a relentless wave of to-do lists.
Because there are so many things on the calendar. If you have kids, there are events and grades and deadlines. If you’re a college student, exams somehow feel like they’re already looming even though you just got started. Stores are putting out Halloween decorations and it isn’t even September; I saw a Christmas tree the other day. ‘Tis the season for rushing and doing.
That’s why I’m forcing myself to slow down. This morning I took a walk and I forced myself to do nothing more than be on the walk: to talk to God, to look at a waning moon hanging down low, to feel the newly bracing morning air. I have a ton of things waiting on my own to-do list; I start teaching classes today and my fall decorations are still hanging down in the basement waiting to be opened. But I don’t want to miss this season.
As I start my day today, I am thinking of Habakkuk 2:18-20 (and yes, believe me, it is rare that I am thinking of anything in Habakkuk at all):
“Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman?
Or an image that teaches lies?
For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation;
he makes idols that cannot speak.
Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’
Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’
Can it give guidance?
It is covered with gold and silver;
there is no breath in it.”
The Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him.
Make a promise to yourself as the lazy, hazy days of summer come to an end. Don’t lose the joy of the moment and the joy of the Lord to the idols of busyness and distraction. Be silent before the Lord, even when you’re going and doing. When you work, or decorate, or go to school or teach classes or start a new venture, be fully present in it and fully present with the Lord. When the events start to pile up and Thanksgiving and Christmas loom in the distance with all their blessings, be fully present for them and fully present with the Lord.
Slow down. Enjoy everything the coming season has to offer. Fall is short, but winter is long. Take each day as it comes, and give the Lord His crown as the king of your day. If you do that, you’ll find these fleeting months to be richer than you could ever imagine.
Prepare yourself for fall.