The goldenrod is yellow,
The corn is turning brown,
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.
~ Helen Hunt Jackson (American poet/writer)
This poem easily describes the sights I see this time of year. Those simple words paint a picture that personifies the season of autumn, don’t they?
I’ve said it before and I’ll just keep reiterating it. I love the fall season.
And one of the things I love most about living in the rural area where I do is that I have ample opportunities to see nature at its finest during any season of the year.
But fall, oh fall, especially fall. Nature puts on a grand show in you.
Considering our age, I suppose you could say Papa and I are in the autumn season of life as well and one aspect of this season is becoming semi-retired.
Papa is still working some and I’m still busy as Little One’s babysitter and an occasional stint as a substitute teacher, but I’m carving out snippets of time here and there to just do whatever I want.
On one of those days of freedom, I loaded myself and my camera into my car and embarked on a photo ops search mission to capture my favorite season before it fades away because for me, fall never lasts long enough.
As I was traveling down one country road surrounded by farmer fields that pretty autumn day, I suddenly felt the urge to apply my brakes, pull my vehicle over to the side of the road, put my flasher lights on, grab the camera, and jump out.
Corn fields surrounded me. Once lushly green through summer, the corn’s now turning brown, drying its kernels to provide winter feed for farm animals. The browning fields forming a sort of abstract pattern amidst green grass made a lovely photo. At least I thought so.
And even though I’m in the autumn of my years, spending time doing something I love – taking photos – during the season I love – fall – made me feel just like this photo of my grandchild cavorting through a corn maze.
And in this month of thanksgiving, most grateful for little snippets of joy. As corny as that sounds, it’s true.
“A light wind swept over the corn, and all nature laughed in the sunshine.” ~ Anne Bronte
We have a hider in our family.
Our oldest granddaughter, who will be turning three in just a couple of months, likes to hide. She hides behind chairs or the family room loveseat. Sometimes she just pulls a blanket over her head and hides that way. And she loves to peek out to see if you’re coming to find her.
Peek-a-boo. It’s a fun game for babies and toddlers and I’d venture to say most of us have played it over and over with a little one.
Lately, the sun has been playing this game around these parts. Some days, it shows its beaming face readily and gifts us with its warming rays. Other days, it hides completely behind dreary rain-filled clouds. Still other days, it peeks out from its hiding spot for a bit just to see if we’re watching.
Last Friday, I was out gallivanting with a good friend, one of my lifetime pals who has been in this friendship with me for 50+ years. We attended a Christmas craft open house in an old barn – I’m still boggle-minded over the amount of items (and people) crammed into that space! – and then we treated ourselves to lunch and visited a nearby shop’s open house as well.
During our little excursion, the sun kept up its peek-a-boo game with us, sometimes causing me to don sunglasses, only to take them off again. At the end of our trip as we neared my home, the sun dropped its blanket of clouds and shone mightily.
Right on my house.
Literally, the sun’s rays were like laser beams focused on my house. My white-siding house practically glowed like a brilliantly illuminated star and my friend exclaimed, “Look at your house! It’s shining!”
It was as if my house, and only my house, was hogging the spotlight. Gleaming. Practically sparkling. Radiating light. It was kind of weird, yet amazing at the same time.
Later as I recalled that moment, something occurred to me. Maybe that’s what heaven will look like. As we near it, we’ll have the sense that we are home. And home will be shining. Light-filled. Dazzling in brilliance.
Nothing will be hidden. All will be once and for all brightly illuminated.
And the Light of the World (Jesus) will be there to welcome us home.
What a comforting thought. And now as I recall that moment when I saw my home encased in sunlight, I’m thankful that the sun peeked out through the clouds just for me. I only wish I had had my camera with me, but of course, when I entered my home to retrieve it to try to capture this unbelievable sight, the sun had slipped back undercover once more.
That little moment in time – that peek — was gone for now, but my friend and I perhaps experienced a glimpse of things to come and peek just happens to be this week’s photo challenge.
“The best we can hope for in this life is a knothole peek at the shining realities ahead. Yet a glimpse is enough. It’s enough to convince our hearts that whatever sufferings and sorrow currently assail us aren’t worthy of comparison to that which waits over the horizon.” ~ Joni Eareckson Tada
Did you ever give that any thought? Our daily lives do go round in circles. Cyclical because our hours are divided between wakefulness and sleep, between daylight and nighttime, between sunshine and moonshine.
Each day, although it may be different from the next because your activities may change, still is circular. We awake – most of us around the same time each morning – and then we sleep – those of us who are fortunate enough to fall asleep easily usually around the same time each night.
This week’s photo challenge is rounded.
And sometimes, I feel like that’s all I do – go round in circles. Often when trying to accomplish a task, I get distracted by something else or someone else needing my attention. I divert, but then I come back around to finish whatever I started. Even if it’s a couple of days later.
We’ve all been told at one time or another in our lives that we need to be well-rounded. When my children were contemplating college applications, I can’t even remember how often they were given advice to be sure their applications showed how well-rounded they were.
It wasn’t enough to be a scholastic achiever with excellent grades and great college prep test scores. It helped if they showed they were involved in service activities for their school and community or athletic endeavors.
How often do we feel like we’re heading in no particular direction? I still remember traveling with my sister on a day trip to a town that I wasn’t familiar with quite a few years ago. No problem, my sis assured me, because she had a GPS.
We found our destination just fine and took a little side trip to find a place for lunch. After that, we started off for home, but that GPS kept confusing us over and over again. Turn left, it demanded. I turned left. Recalculating, it informed me. Turn left again. I complied. Turn left. Turn left.
And you guessed it, that device kept us going in circles. We finally turned it off and found our own way.
Where I live there aren’t many roundabouts –those circular kind of intersections in which drivers travel in one direction around a center island without traffic signals or stop signs. They can be confusing if you aren’t accustomed to driving in one.
Back in September, Papa and I took a mini-vacation of sorts to a historical area, Gettysburg, in our home state. And right there in the center of town was a roundabout. We slid out of the circular traffic pattern into a parking spot to visit a museum where President Abraham Lincoln put the finishing touches on his famous Gettysburg Address.
While walking around the roundabout – going in circles – I snapped a few photos, one I posted above. I know there was order to it, but watching the traffic flow in that roundabout seemed chaotic to me because I’m not used to traveling in many roundabouts.
But as I recall going in circles around that roundabout, I’m reminded of one thing, that life, even a well-rounded one, is short. Too short to be going in circles without direction, without purpose.
Going in circles is what we do when we have no plans, no structure, and probably no goals either. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of going round in circles and I’m willing to deviate from the rounded path, follow a few dreams, live what’s rest of my life with purpose, and ask God to guide me along the way.
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” ~ William Shakespeare in The Tempest