By Dr. Heather Bozant Witcher, Clarion Herald
Only recently have I begun seeing the reds and yellows of the trees, the temperatures begin to fall, and the season for hot chocolate commence. It’s in stark contrast to St. Louis – where snow fell only a few weeks ago. Here, back home in the south, fall comes in quickly and softly, surprising us with its arrival and swiftly evacuating, retreating in the face of winter.
But this transient moment is my favorite time of year. A brief reminder of the beauty of nature, the colors that match the colors of the Thanksgiving season.
It’s easy to miss. It’s particularly easy now as we seem to skip from Halloween to Christmas, the turkey and the celebration of thanks passed over in favor of Christmas. This Thanksgiving, I’m particularly grateful and desirous of celebrating the many blessings that have been given to me this past year.
Looking back to last year seems a lifetime ago. Perhaps the haze of sleep deprivation and general exhaustion from these early months of motherhood colors that recollection.
Nonetheless, as my husband and I recalled our lives last Thanksgiving, we remembered that we had no idea that in the span of just a few weeks, we’d learn of our pregnancy or that we’d be celebrating my job offer at Auburn University at Montgomery. We had no idea that we’d be contemplating the logistics of a return to the south, a return to Alabama – just a few hours north of where we had first met 12 years ago. Life has a funny way of cycling back upon itself, offering new avenues forward and new paths of discovery.
But isn’t that, at its heart, what the fall season and Thanksgiving in particular is really about? Isn’t it simply a reminder not only of all bountiful blessings that God has bestowed on us, but a promise that, with each passing season, we cycle back as a means of moving forward?
We watch and wait each year for the changing leaves, for the gathering of family and friends around a table of shared gratitude and communal meal. We continue the traditions of our families and create new ones that, we hope, our children will remember and recreate one day in their own families.
This Thanksgiving, as we celebrate our first holiday as a new family, I’m most looking forward to sitting around the table – to the mix of family traditions. To new grandparents coming together in our home for the sole reason of sharing the holiday with our newest additions. And, most importantly, as we look back on the families that my husband and I have come from, we also look forward to the family of four that we have created.
Dr. Heather Bozant Witcher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.