The cold weather is blowing in and just a day ago it was 83°. Down in the corner of my laptop, an alert tells me there is a freeze warning, which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise as we slouch toward November.
Back before everyone stared at smartphones all day and before social media short-circuited our attention spans, we used to walk outside and experience the leaves change and notice the small but marvelous alterations and transitions as nature signaled the season. All of this was designed to put wonder and questions in our minds about the nature of life and living, death and resurrection.
In the old world, not too long ago, this was the time when the crop had been processed and preserved, jars on shelves and food in the root cellar, the feed animals were being finished off and prepared for processing as soon as the first week of freezes would come. Food was plentiful this time of year, celebrations were often, and families had time to visit and even travel. All of this, of course, has been hijacked by the corporate holiday cartel, but if you’re old enough you may remember the hints and vestiges of an earlier age.
I remember walking up the street and the leaves – brown and yellow and red – piling up under the trees and in the gutters. We would rake the leaves into huge piles and then jump and slide into them, spreading the leaves over the whole yard, and then raking them up again. Once we did that in a neighbor’s yard. The owner had gone to the trouble of bagging the leaves and they were piled up high – over our heads. And we jumped in the piles until the bags ripped and the leaves were all over the yard. The neighbor came home and marched us home by our earlobes to get rightfully punished by our parents. We had to rake and bag the leaves again.
I remember the first smokey scent of the chimneys, and it was getting darker earlier, and the brisk air would turn cold in the electric blue dusk before the streetlights threatened to come on and we had to race home. Rosy-cheeked and hearts aflame.
Halloween wasn’t the cult that it is now, and I always dressed as a hobo (which would be politically incorrect now) and one house we went to the old lady invited us in to warm up and sat us down and told us that Halloween wasn’t really a very Christian thing, but she still hoped we had fun. She read a verse from the Bible and gave us a Coke (which was a special treat back then,) and sent us on our way.
Later we moved to a new town, back to Texas, and we didn’t know anyone yet. We went outside and the kids on the block were playing football in the street (there were stickers in the grass, so you didn’t play there) but the excited screams and seeing your breath in the cold air – these were still the same. And we made friends. And one year it snowed in late October, which didn’t happen much in the desert.
Altogether I think this time, when the cold weather comes and the season change is upon us, is made for us to cause us to think about time passing and the most important things. Like Bible verses in a warm and safe house, a light flicking on in the darkness, and provision being made for us if we can just see it.
I hope you all have a wonderful week.