Fall isn’t my favorite season of the year. I’m guessing that right about now, that’s tantamount to heresy around here, but I cannot live a falsehood. For all its colorful beauty, Autumn is simply prelude to the dreary, depressing Winter that is invariably nipping at its heels, like a cold, vicious hound that can’t wait to see the backside of the warmth and comfort of the preceding seasons.
When I was a naive young man, growing up in the tropics of south Texas, I believed that any winter which included a deep white blanket of snow that had fallen to cover the ugly brown earth, had to be better than those I experienced all those years. Of course, “the grass is always greener”, as we all know, but I thought that experiencing four distinct seasons would have to be an improvement on the two we had there. We always described the two seasons as Hot and Hotter…
The Rio Grande Valley in far south Texas is a primary winter destination for thousands of retired northern folks, most of whom maintain a second home there or else bring one with them in the form of the popular RV (we just called them travel trailers). The Chamber of Commerce wanted us to call these folks “Winter Texans”, as if coming to their little refugee camps made them citizens, but we just called them “snowbirds.” We, as kids, couldn’t for the life of us understand why anyone would leave the glory of snow-covered lawns, houses, and roads to come to the dry, hot realm of eternal summer. Besides that, they clogged the roads, slowing down constantly to look at orange groves and palm trees, to say nothing of the long lines at the cafeterias like Luby’s and Furr’s.
Ah, the foolishness of youth! I look back now and understand those old geezers (boy, somebody should look in the mirror!) much better than ever. If my business allowed it, I’d be packing an RV right now to head down Interstate 35 for a few months myself. Every year, I look forward to winter with much less zeal than the year before, simply because I have found that the gray days that are coming will leave me in a blue mood for weeks at a time. I’m confident that it’s not real depression, but I will certainly not be as jovial, nor lighthearted as I am during Spring and Summer. There are an infinite number of suggestions that friends and family have to cure this blue mood, ranging from listening to upbeat music, to going to the tanning booths, to buying a “natural sunlight” reading lamp. I’d do the last one, except for the fact that all the designs look like they came right out of a nursing home and I’m not quite ready for that yet. But you get the point…I don’t think much of winter and therefore, don’t have much use for the preparatory season that we are in now. The Fall just reminds me constantly that everything around us is going to sleep, so it doesn’t have to endure the cold, dark season that is bearing down on us inexorably.
Having said all that (and I’m sure I’ll get emails), I have to add that the Fall is beautiful in the Ozarks right now. The Lovely Lady and I took the weekend just ended to drive through some of the prettiest woodland you have ever seen. The road to Devil’s Den is glorious with color, as is the highway to and from Eureka Springs. Even with the niggling thoughts of the approaching Winter that came unbidden as we gazed on the scenery, the amazing show that nature puts on each Fall is in a category all its own. We stood on Inspiration Point, viewing the White River valley and each direction we turned brought a new and marvelous vista. Even I, with my cynical point of view, can’t avoid the obvious truth; God’s Glory is exposed with each new season, and in this one, this Autumn, with all it’s implications for the future, no less than any other and possibly in some respects, more than the others. What a show!
So, I will grudgingly acknowledge that there are aspects of Autumn that make it a not entirely dreadful season. My vote is still for Spring and I believe that the writer of the Psalms agrees with me. After all, he did write about the man who follows God with these words, “… he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of waters, which brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also does not wither…” So, eternal Spring is the appointed order for things and we’ll enjoy that in heaven, I’m sure. The reader is free to disagree, but I’m fairly confident that I’m right. Until that day, make the best of it, tough it out, and get outside into the glorious colors with which God has painted the world.
Autumn wins you best by this, its mute
Appeal to sympathy for its decay.