I arrived home late at night from a week out of town. My husband picked me up from the airport and drove me home. It was dark when we pulled into the garage. I could only see what the headlights illuminated, and that was nothing more than the road directly in front of me.
Morning arrived all too early. I could smell the coffee as my husband had gone into the kitchen before I awakened and hit the brew button. I shuffled out of the bedroom. He had coffee mugs in hand and was ready to head to the back deck and our favorite swing to greet the first rays of sunshine. Although everything within me wanted to return to bed, I succumbed to his charm and our morning ritual. Outside we headed.
I settled into the swing with my eyes barely open. Travel fatigue was causing me to scarcely see anything except that which was right in front of my face. My husband talked about his activities while I was away. I listened and sipped my hot coffee. Before long, his enthusiasm and the caffeine began to work their magic. I opened my eyes and looked up. I looked up and looked around. I looked around and gazed in wonder. Something marvelous had occurred. Fall had come to the Midwest.
Just one week out of town, and the maple tree in the neighbor’s back yard had become bejeweled with red foliage. Across the lake, I could see tones of bright yellows and vibrant oranges. The water acted like a mirror, reflecting the images along with their pallet of colors. The darkness of the previous night had concealed the pictography. The dullness of my morning fatigue had veiled the portrait. But there, waiting for me to wake up and look around, was the beauty of the season.
All throughout the day, I purposefully observed the many sights of Fall. As I drove out of my neighborhood, I noticed the large tractors and combines in the fields garnering the corn. The air was saturated with tiny particles of stalk residue generated from the harvesting, which triggered many memories of growing up in Illinois and October. I passed the Farmer’s Market and saw pumpkins lining the front of the store. Images of Jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pies danced through my head.
I stopped at the grocery store where my attention was arrested by a kiosk loaded with caramel covered apples. I decided to ignore the calories and indulge myself with the once-a-year, fall-time treat. I could not go to the checkout line with just the items on my list. I had to purchase a small jug of apple juice and some cinnamon sticks because the season demanded that I fill my home with the aroma and my taste buds with the flavor of hot spicy cider so characteristic of Fall.
I spent the whole day with my eyes and my heart open. I thought about the number of times that I allow the darkness of a difficult situation, the gloom of a problematic circumstance, or the night of a challenging trial to make me look down and only see the road in front of me. How often had life made me weary causing me to become so myopic that I missed the beauty that surrounded me? Well, not that day.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 states, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” (NIV) Thankfully, the morning after my dark night and my fatigue, I awakened and found that all around me was the beauty of the God-appointed season, the beauty of Fall.