This morning I walked and it was undeniable, you can feel the change in the air. Soon the flip flops and shorts I reach for will be replaced with jeans and sneakers, the t-shirts with hoodies. The leaves will change, Josie will start bringing home autumn crafts from school. The lawn won't need mowed as much, it will be cooler and cooler in the mornings.
I have such mixed feelings about this time of year.
Before Marie autumn was my favorite time, I loved the change. The world seems to pause in the autumn, the heat stops and there are lovely days before the snows set in. It is a busy time for my farmer husband, and I suppose for me too as his farmer's wife.
With Marie fall brought worry. Colds and flu would begin, I would be on guard making everyone wash their hands when they entered our home. We didn't go out as much after fall. Marie loved to be out and about but colds were so hard on her, I could control who came into our home. I did what I could to protect her, to shelter her, to keep her safe. Fall meant the world was shrinking for us. We would become more limited to our little house.
Now... well now I don't know what to think about it. Every once in awhile I feel that old twinge, because my soul really does love this time of year. But then my heart sets in and feels heavy. Summer is over, and summer was Marie. Last year summer ended abruptly, when God called her she went and the weather changed overnight. It was cooler instantly with Marie gone. Fall brings feelings of being without her. The reality that summer has gone. That winter is coming and last winter was hard.
I want to be excited, to feel that rise in my chest at the thought of pumpkins and cornstalks, the picking out of Halloween costumes. Easting soups again, baking bread. Of cooler temperatures making our house feel cozier... I want to feel that. But there's that echo "she's not here, Marie's not here". I know that echo is not specific to the time of year. It's the sound of what I am going to live with the rest of my time on earth.
I think to because of the life we live we are more sensitive to the changing of the seasons. Luke's work changes with them. Autumn is the season of sowing... this is when we tend our fields, when we plant. The wheat begins now and soon will be covered with winters snows. The tiny plants need that cold, the winter wheat, it needs that season of chill. It needs to be put through that to bear it's fruit. I think we are like the wheat. It is in the barren times, the times of chill, the hard times that we are shaped. We are brought closer to God in the winters of life, and He uses them to cause us to bear His fruit. When spring comes and the wheat becomes green again and Luke is in the field giving it what it needs to grow the Lord gives it the rains and the winds it needs and it bears fruit in summer. I think our lives are like that. Full of barren times, times of growth and feeding, and then we bear our fruit if we walk the right paths, if we trust Him; lean on Him, allow Him to guide us. We are the harvest.
My walk was good, Sarah was happy in the stroller. I went through clothes yesterday to get things out for her, she only has a few pairs of pants and I needed to get the warmer things in order. The baby clothes are really Marie's clothes, all the things she wore. Going through them was a rush of memories, I could see her in this or that. Marvel at the size of her feet as I pulled out her shoes. The clothes have a different feel on Sarah. But in the end they're just clothes. They pass on, down to the littlest sister just as things move and life picks up its new rhythms and things pull forward and the seasons change. And I hear the echo, "she's not here, Marie's not here".
I know just where she is though... Beautiful, happy, laughing, dancing... And I talk to God about it when I hear the echo. And I know that Jesus gives her kisses from me... And I love Him for that and so much more.
"then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil." Deuteronomy 11:14 NIV
~ Marie, in the fall...