The smell of freshly baked bread. Football. Jeans and sweatshirts. Back to school. Not flip-flops. HaHa! How is it that these are the things on my mind? Fall is the air. I can feel it. I’m having a harder time explaining that feeling though, especially because I am the one who loves summer. It seems I am in search of a long, hot summer day nine months out of the year, and when summer comes, I never want it to end. I love the lazy days. I love that all the horses are not in the barn needing to be fed, but rather out in the pasture, grazing. I cherish the days when my two teenage boys say, “Mom, let’s go to the creek and go swimming.” My garden is flourishing… and my war with the grasshoppers is on! Our lawn that we’ve worked so hard for came in so well this year and is now in constant need of watering. Ahhh, summer! Bare feet in the grass. Cooking outdoors on the grill. No homework!! I spend many a waking hour wondering what it would be like to have days like this every day… if winter would never come! I can only imagine it to be blissful! So why the thoughts of fall?
I’m not the well-known “football mom”. I don’t look forward to freezing at football games. …and believe me, here in Northern Montana, we do indeed freeze at football games. Our last winter was by far one of my least favorites in my life. I am not a fan of cold, blowing snow. The fact that we live 26 miles from town makes even a trip to the grocery store an ordeal! It is dark when I get up in the morning to make my husband lunch for work and get the boys on the bus, and it’s dark when they get home in the evening. The lawn chairs are gone, the flowers are gone, and in their place is snow, snow, and more snow. In one of my flower beds, there’s a decorative rock with this engraved into it: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens.” Each morning as I’m watering, I’m mocked by this truth.
King Solomon, known for his wisdom, was the one who first penned this statement, followed by things such as, “a time to live and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build…”
Maybe this is what I “feel”. Maybe the change in seasons is felt deeply in my soul because it is a time of change in life. Nothing big or huge, just the feeling of growing into another season of life. I don’t feel myself resisting this change, but rather, looking forward to it– even though I don’t yet know what “it” will be. As much as I don’t look forward to school beginning, I feel it is time for the boys to get back to their friends, their sports teams, their fellow classmates. The social lessons learned in each new year of school, always so obviously proportional to their personal growth, are important in life… as important as the educational lessons, in my opinion. They learn how to handle conflict, how to handle authority figures other than mom and dad. They learn personal responsibility, aside from the responsibility they handle so well here on the ranch. They learn that peers will not always lead them down the right path, and that they have to make their own decisions… and make good decisions. They learn to treat people right… it’s hard to learn this lesson when you’re on the ranch day after day. The only people there are family members… a school environment provides some challenges to drive this lesson home! I can also feel that it is time for our family to return to a routine, even though I can already see how hectic that routine is going to be.
This craziness welds a perfect life lesson as well… we learn to manage time, to make priorities. We learn that time is a precious commodity, and to use it wisely. Our lazy days of summer, if they went on forever as they do in my daydreams, would never teach us this lesson. Spending each day together, all day, every day, as we do in the summer is something that is easily taken for granted. Whether we are driving ATVs up north to check on horses, shooting hoops in the shop, pulling hoses to water the garden, or just “hanging out”, we are together. Just as I could go on and on about the lessons being together 24/7 has taught us, I can also see that we need to be reminded that these days won’t last forever.
When 4 different people have different schedules, we have to make “family time” a priority. If this is not a conscious decision, “family time” will not happen at all. In my personal life, I also feel the need for the change that this new season will bring. Again, I don’t know exactly what these changes are, and I’m not sure I’m looking for any change in particular. But I can “feel” it coming! I am looking forward to the days when I grab a book and a blanket and cozy up on the couch for an hour before it’s time to cook dinner. I know the days will come when the blizzards will close our road and the boys and my honey have a “snow day”. I know these days will be filled with Battleship games, xBox, and great smells coming from the kitchen… the slower pace returning for a short visit… one day in the middle of winter to give us a glimpse of what is to come when summer once again returns. Yes, to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens. King Solomon said it this way in Ecclesiastes 3: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. I look forward expectantly to the new season that is coming… not because I love the snow and cold, or wish the warm weather would end, obviously! But I look forward expectantly because I know God holds each day in His hands. I trust Him with all my heart.