August is always such a season of change. With the start of the school year we wave goodbye to summer sun and family vacations. My own family recently celebrated a wedding, several birthdays and a baptism.
So it should have come as no surprise to me when I woke up this week and felt a wave of coolness in the air. But I was.
Fall always seems to come so quietly, settling in before I even truly realize it’s on its way. Yesterday I went to work with my father (he builds fences) and on our way to the job site we marveled at the slight yellowing of the canopy leaves and the reddening of the poison ivy leaves in the underbrush.
This time is so special, when the boundaries of summer and fall have blurred so that each day is different and unpredictable. So subtle in fact that if I hadn’t gone to work with my father that morning I might have missed it completely.
When we left in the morning the air was brisk, the sky was overcast, and rain hung in the air. By mid-afternoon, the clouds had pulled back to reveal the sun.
It should have been stiflingly humid (and it was for a moment) but a tremendous wind kept things fresh. Standing at the crest of a hill overlooking the beautiful vista of the farm where we working that day I was struck by how lucky I was. Not just to live on an Earth that was so wondrously and marvelously made, but to have the opportunity to witness the transition from one beautiful season to the next.
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
― Henry David Thoreau,
Thoreau’s words always remind me of the farmer. By the nature of their work, farmers are wholly dependent on the seasons. And this last season definitely hasn’t been easy on Missouri’s farmers. For those of you who don’t know, Missouri has been limping through a drought for a while now and I don’t envy them the stress of planning how to feed and water their livestock.
But the truth is farmers know that you can only plan life out so far ahead. Very little is actually in our control. And we can get upset about that, we can rage against that , we can stress about that, but in the end that’s all we will have accomplished. And in the worry and the fear, we will have missed the beauty of the moment we’re actually meant to be living in.
While we might want a break from the sizzling temperatures and we might really, really need the rains of the fall to hurry up and get here, we shouldn’t be quick to wish away what’s happening right now. All too soon, fall will be here in full. Then winter and the joy of that season. In the coming cold we might find ourselves longing for the warmth of the summer sun back in our lives. So before the summer says goodbye and leaves us for the crisp winds and vibrant colors of fall, take a moment to step outside and appreciate this changing time both in our lives and in nature. I know I will.