September began with temperatures below normal; in fact, they were down-right chilly. Then JustBob fired up the boilers, and within a few days the temperatures climbed into the 70’s and even hit 80 one day. Then last week, overnight lows were back down to to the low 30’s and our guests were grateful the boilers were running. This week, we are enjoying warm days again, with highs in the 60’s with bright sunshine: Friday’s forecast is for the high 70’s.
As a child, we called this stretch of warm, dry weather late in autumn Indian summer. Now we sometimes call it our second summer, although based on the temperature rollercoaster in the past six weeks, this may be our third summer this year.
One thing that has been fairly consistent these past few weeks has been Brother Wind; he seems to have been working overtime to strip the leaves from our trees. About half of our deciduous trees have lost most or all of their leaves already, and those that remain are getting thinner each day. The bare trees and early sunsets are prophetic messengers of the coming long, dark winter days.
Each year, autumn seems to be a nostalgic time for me. Perhaps it is a feeling ingrained in childhood with the end of carefree summer days and the return to school routines. Or perhaps it is because, in this season when all around us in nature is dying, I remember friends and family members who have also died, several of whom had birthdays or died in the later months of the year. More likely it is more about the awareness that yet another year is three-quarters done and quickly coming to a close, and the awareness that there are more years behind me than in front of me as well. It makes me wonder where the time went.
One lesson nature has for us in these days is that we have no control of the sun or clouds, the temperatures, the wind, the rain or the lack of rain. We cannot control how many warm, sunny days we experience any more than we can control how many cloudy, rainy days come our way. Both are necessary, both have an important role in the cycle of life, and we can only accept, appreciate and enjoy each day for what it is.
Another lesson is we cannot hold on to the past. Like the trees, we will have times of life and growth and we will have times of loss and dormancy. Like the trees, sometimes the winds of life will batter us and strip us of many things we wish we could hold on to but we cannot. And like the trees, sometimes we need to let go, be patient and wait until spring and new life return.
For life and death, for growth and dormancy, for all we have been given and for all we need to let go of, we say Deo Gratias!