Autumn Leaves


A few weeks after we moved this summer, a dear friend from back home sent me a text message to tell me about a dream she'd had.  In the dream, she and I were in the backyard of our new home.  I was heavy, burdened, and crying. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a horse came slowly walking up to me.  In it's mane were beautiful, crisp autumn leaves of every color.  My friend said that in her dream I reached out and touched the horse's mane, touched the leaves that were tangled there, and I smiled, full of joy.

It's been a long time since I've had a dream that I really believed was from the Lord but the moment I read her text, I knew that this one was.  It was a hard summer for me and though I hadn't told her this, I was quietly holding out hope that the tide would turn come autumn.  When my friend relayed this dream to me (and thank God she didn't just write it off) it felt like reason to cling to that hope; the hope that just around the corner would be joy.

And now here we are in mid-September and though the days are still summer-warm, the nights and mornings beg for long sleeves and light jackets.  There aren't many leaves on the ground but the oak in our front yard is turning dry and brown.  We went Saturday to an orchard to pick apples because September is their month, no matter how brazenly pumpkins try to weasel their way in.  School is in full swing and gone are those first weeks of afternoon crashes off the high.  There is a rhythm in the air now, and all four of us are pulling it in through our nostrils.

I have suddenly found myself with a life as slow and wide-open as I've longed for for years, and what to do with it perplexes me.  When you've been concentrating so long on keeping your head above water, what do you do once you find yourself on sand?  I want to better integrate the values we carry into our newly found rhythm: those of slowness, local involvement, being with the poor, family prayer, sustainability,  community, the list goes on.  But I am treading softly, recognizing that the only way to incorporate these in a permanent way is to go slow.  Slow, in fact, may be my word for this fall.

A few hours ago, I told Eric that I feel the desire to write less and focus on these things more.  Yet here I am now, before you and this computer, but I can't help it.  Right now, this is my meeting place with God.  This is where I can sit and reflect and connect the glaringly obvious dots that I otherwise miss.  Those that, like a child's game, link up to reveal a picture that I should have seen before but couldn't.  At a time in my life where (to be honest) God often feels inaccessible, I know I can always find Him once I started putting down words.

Whatever it is you do that you know you can always find Him in, don't ever stop.

But before I cracked this keyboard, I decorated our living room with all the autumn goodness I could scrounge up.  Personalizing this house has been a long and slow process for us.  We're still trying to make it feel like home, like a place of comfort and joy.  There was something about hailing the advent of fall today that got me one step closer to that.  Maybe it's because it's our first season-change here.  Maybe it's because I finally feel capacity to expand, to bring in good and beautiful things for my family's joy.  Maybe it's all the reasons and none of the reasons, and is just simply a gift.

Special thanks to my little nature-lover, Alyosha Daniel, whose penchant for hoarding acorns and pine cones finally paid off. (I let the feathers be.)  Hope he doesn't mind that I raided his stash.  All non-living objects were things I had around the house, or was saving in the basement for when I found the first red leaf.  If I do these seasonal posts often enough, it will become clear that I have my own hoarding problem with crocheted blankets.  There simply is no cure.  I apologize.

Someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin & they will say, 'what have you done with your life?' & though there are many moments I think I'll remember, in the end, I will be proud to say, I was one of us.

(Brian Andreas, Storypeople)