Fall is in the air, and for me, it’s about time. My lawn that I thought might have died altogether somehow perked right back up with the rains at the end of last month. The peppers are all in but the tomato and green onions don’t yet have the good sense to stop growing. A couple of sturdy carrots will make good additions to a savory stew later as the nights cool and the bees disappear. And two large pumpkins somehow avoided the field mice and will make swell jack-o-lanterns. It’s sweater weather.
Fall used to fascinate me before I took 7th grade biology and learned all about photosynthesis and how plants store energy. I remember as a kid being totally awestruck that a tree could drop alllll its leaves in the fall, and then get so totally frozen cold for a couple of months and then all those leaves and more would come back the next year. I remember the epic snowball fights we would have as a neighborhood and coming in frozen to the bone after only 4 hours, much less 4 months of cold weather. Natural wonder abounded in my youth. And there are still some things that biology hasn’t solved. Science still cannot understand a Chrysalis: the miracle of how a caterpillar spins a cocoon, becomes a gelatinous mass of goo, and comes out a butterfly, somehow with more beauty and color than even the caterpillar could have imagined.
And if science isn’t astounding, there are more mundane fascinations in the world. Who will become our next President? Will the Pats be the perennial top dogs in the AFC again? Will the Celtics and Bruins somehow do a Chrysalis and find their new life so we can once again enjoy the playoffs in Springtime?
You might at this point have read enough of my columns to once again ask…what does any of this have to do with anything?
Fall is indeed a time of rapid change. Our lives seem to be changing too fast at times, too much, too soon, when we focus outwardly on the world over which we have little control. I’m sorry to say that no matter how much we shout at the TV in joy or disappointment, what happens to our sports teams is beyond our control. And while we have a vote for who will be President, there are 49 other states that have to weigh in, too. But we can affect and see the changes of those things closest to us: Townsend and its people. Our friends and neighbors. Those whom we encounter and invite into our lives, even for a moment when we say “hello” at the store or on the street. The world can be crazy, but we don’t have to be. We can affect change in our hearts, change in how we treat one another, in ways less crazy.
It starts with spending time with each other. We’re doing some cool things this month as part of our “Bridges in Hospitality” initiative which will help us invite our hearts to experience more joy and more fulfillment through engaging others. Come and see the love of Townsend’s feathered and furry friends at the Blessing of the Animals on October 2 on the Common. Experience the joyful gathering of community and memory at Greg’s Run on October 8. Help us celebrate the bounty of God’s grace by visiting the Harvest Festival on October 23. And come any Sunday to fill your heart with how we can live our lives more fully, more joyfully, through hospitality in our homes, hearts and communities.
Change doesn’t have to be scary. But let’s not also lose the wonder of its presence, knowing that God can change our hearts if we are open to the messages of love, mercy, justice, compassion, and kindness. The weather is changing, the harvest is in…but our lives can be more filled with warmth than ever.
Just don’t forget your sweater.
See you soon,