Fall prepares us for the busyness of the holidays

Autumn is upon us. We may not know it in the weather, but the flavors of pumpkin, spices and apples are everywhere. It’s something that my husband brings up each time we grocery shop: pumpkin spice everything. We even found pumpkin spice dental bones for dogs. 

This season is, perhaps, one of the reasons I like living in the Midwest. The colors of nature change, the air turns crisper, the evenings cool. In many ways, for me, this is the harbinger of all that is to come: Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

The often-sudden shift into fall seems to announce, in a rather grandiose way through the radiance and beauty of nature, that we should get ready because there’s a roller coaster ahead. The lazy days of summer are over; the holiday busyness is upon us.

The crunch of the leaves, the smell of earth as the leaves are freshly raked, the warmth of cinnamon spices for apple cider. I associate all of these things with what is most certainly my favorite season. I also associate it with one of my closest friends: two out of three of her children were born in the autumn; and now, one more is on the way – his arrival announced as the leaves became golden.

As we chatted about the many changes going on in her life, she slyly snuck in her announcement. An “autumn avocado,” she said, referencing the latest craze among pregnant mothers to grasp the size of their babies by comparing them to fruits and vegetables. At about this time, he can start hearing sounds, she told me. The sounds of his brother and sisters, the melodies of the lullabies she sings each night, and the music played by his father on the piano. Theirs is a world of music and devotion: devotion to family, friends and God.

Above all, in this surprise of a pregnancy, there is gratitude for God’s blessings. Appreciation for this gift of motherhood and new life, a gift that she knows all too well. There was, she said, the shock of unexpectedness, the initial panic, but beneath all of it there was love. In knowing of the life within her, she loved and was changed. 

The symmetry of knowledge is, perhaps, most wondrous. As the child inside grows within, she and her family grow without. The five silhouettes playing in the field will soon become six. Already, his siblings make room for his arrival. The other day, while going through old, worn-out shoes, his sister asked if she could save them for her new brother.

And so, it seems right that her announcement takes place in the fall. We prepare ourselves for the sudden excitement and stress of the upcoming holidays, knowing that they will be here in the blink of an eye. But at the same time, we savor the beauty surrounding us. We bask in the gentle shifts of the weather, the extravagance of God’s grandeur put on display around us.

Dr. Heather Bozant Witcher can be reached at hbozantwitcher@clarionherald.org.

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