Last night was the autumnal equinox. There was also a harvest moon, and Jupiter was as bright as its been in the sky for some time now. But while today is the first official day of fall and after weeks of cooler temperatures, it feels more like summer today—adding to our already record breaking number of 90° plus days. So instead of looking ahead to crisp weather and bright leaves and apple-picking and all the other wonders of fall, I find myself looking back to summer, remembering its wonders and hoping you experienced them to the fullest.
Did you watch fireflies flickering in the twilight? Hear the evening hum of the crickets? Did you go out for ice cream or snow cones? Did you make homemade ice cream? Did you go to the pool? Lie in one of the lounge chairs and read? Did you have at least one cook-out? Enjoy the smells of someone else cooking out—on a charcoal grill? Did you go berry-picking? Enjoy a cobbler or a crisp made with fresh berries? Eat fresh watermelons and peaches? Did the juice drip down your chin? Did you enjoy a thick slice of home-grown tomato on a piece of toast with mayo, salt and pepper? Did you go on vacation? To the beach? To the mountains? To the lake? Did you have some special time with family, with extended family, with friends who might as well be family? Did you schedule time away from home with your parents? With your children? Did you catch up with what’s been going on in other peoples’ lives? Other peoples’ childrens’ lives?
Did you notice the flowers in the gardens? The hydrangea, the shasta daisies, the lilies, the jonquils, the coneflowers, the black-eyed susans, the japanese anemone, the sunflowers, the geranium, the cleome, the butterfly bush? Did you notice the butterflies? How about the bees? Did you know we were worried about the bees? Did you see the red flight of a cardinal? The yellow flight of a finch? Did you lie awake listening to the rhythm of the rain to the beat of the thunder and the searing illumination of lightning? Did you notice the smell of rain hitting hot pavement? Did you enjoy cooler meals that didn’t require turning the oven on? Was the smell of sunscreen a regular part of your mornings?
Did you notice children delighting in playing outside? Teachers looking more relaxed and youth ministers and parents less so? Did you enjoy lazy dusks when the temperatures began to drop—sitting outside in companionship with your neighbors? Did you help out with Vacation Bible School? In the preparation for it? During the week of it? Did you drink any ice-cold lemonade? Buy it from a neighborhood stand? Before it got so hot and humid, did you enjoy having the windows open?
Did you eat fresh vegetables? Squash, zuchinni, lettuce, cucumbers, corn-on-the-cob, chard? Did you have a salad made entirely from veggies grown in the area and harvested a day or two before you ate it? Did you pack a picnic? Go to the zoo? An outdoor concert? Did you sit in the shade of a tree? Lie in the grass? Itch? Did you sweat through a summer wedding and bathe in the hope and joy of it? Have you breathed in the smell of fresh-cut grass? Did you stay outside later than you normally do—let the kids stay up—and were you then surprised at how late it had gotten to be when you finally did go inside? Did you laugh?
Did you rest? Did you take and get at least somewhat of a break from your routine?
Did you give thanks? For the regular break from routine that is our ever changing seasons? Did you celebrate the God of cycles and change and growth and abundant life and relationships all within the gift of experiential and sensory overload? Was worship a part of your summer? Did you make worship a part of your summer? Prayer and Bible study part of the cycle of your summer living? Did a word of God speak to you? Were you listening for it?
Have you taken time to notice summer? You still have some time … a few days—maybe a week or two … before it’s time to notice fall. You still have time to celebrate all the wonderful specifics unique to this particular time of the year. And you have time—you always have time—to recognize and to welcome—to celebrate and honor—the truth of God within your time.