Fall is my favorite time of year. The beautiful colors, the crispness of the air, hot beverages and great seasonal harvests. It’s that time when we try to fit in the things we could not do during the summer, but need or want to accomplish before winter hits. It is a season of change – both in nature and in our everyday life.
Nature uses this time to prepare for the upcoming winter months. Plants begin to die off or hibernate, trees drop their leaves and animals are either plumping up or gathering food to get them through the cold winter season. It is instinctual for them – no thought to it really, they just do it because it is in their nature.
Fall brings some similar changes for me – well from a human perspective! Away go the summer clothes and I move to my Fall/Winter wardrobe. The yard and gardens are cleared of the summer adornments and beds are prepared for the winter months. Last-minute, outside home projects are completed and the house is buttoned up. I begin to crave homemade soups, hot cocoa, hot oatmeal and other cold-weather friendly foods. And my favorite throws come out of their storage – ready for those chilly Fall mornings and evenings! The frantic pace of getting things done before the snow flies is probably just as strong in humans, as it is in nature.
Fall also brings a change in me personally. I tend to slow down when the cold weather hits. The Farmers’ Market closes, the yard work slows and for me a lot of my outdoor activities are put on mothballs! I don’t mind the cold and snow – but I’ve long lost the thrill for outdoor winter events. I’ll take a warm fire over a frolic in the snow any day. My thoughts tend to lean more towards a good book or other creative activities – anything that can be done in the comfort of a warm indoor place! So the Fall is when I begin to prepare for that change of pattern and I will often want to spend more time outdoors – knowing what is to come!
As I was thinking about the change in seasons, it got me thinking about the changes I’ve gone through this past year, Losing both parents in such a short time tends to make you reflect on many things – including how your life was and how it will be. It helps you understand how precious and short life can be. While every part of me this year has wanted to hide away in my grief, I understand that I can’t do that – at least not as a long term plan. Life must move forward and I must move with it. And it will move forward as a changed life, like from one season to the next.
I struggle at times to understand this new season of my life. I am on unfamiliar ground. I’ve lost family in the past – grandparents, aunts and uncles. Yet losing my parents is a new ball game. There are days when I feel lost and others where I feel I may actually be getting my footing. Some days I am so sad and others I am thanking God for the blessings I still have in my life. In nature, we know one season from the next and how to prepare as the changes come. For me, this change is uncharted territory and I’m not sure what to do next.
So I take it day by day, allowing myself to experience the pain of grief when it comes. I also embrace those days when I am feeling good and finding my way. I ask God each day to guide me down the path He has intended for me. I ask for strength and for an open and loving heart. And I thank Him for His Grace. I may not know what is to come, but I know that my Father in Heaven in watching over me and loving me in a way only He can. And that will never change!