As we pulled out of the near-empty parking lot, I watched the marina become smaller and smaller in my passenger side mirror.  Finally, it disappeared from view, and I closed my eyes.  How I loathed packing up everything on the boat, taking our “summer home” out of the water and putting it in storage until spring.  My husband gave me a sympathetic pat on the hand.  I laid back, resting my head against the cool leather of the car seat, and sighed.  I hated this time of year.

Before long, the bright fall sunshine beckoned me.  When I opened my eyes, I was treated to a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, yellows and greens.  I sat up to take it all in.  As we wove our way home through the back roads of Northeast Ohio, the warm blanket of color wrapped itself around me and eased a smile onto my face.  I cracked the window open slightly, and the earthy aroma of autumn tickled my senses.  I could hear the crunch of leaves under the feet of the children playing in front of the farmhouses we passed.  I watched as they jumped into neatly raked piles of leaves, throwing armfuls up in the air and marvelling as Mother Nature’s seasonal confetti cascaded back down to earth.

It was the time of year for brisk mornings, warm afternoons and chilly evenings… flannel sheets and fires.  I found myself looking forward to cuddling under the big, soft blankets on our couch in front of the woodburner and watching the hungry flames dance until I fell asleep.  I longed to see my chrysanthemums in bloom and take the kids to the local pumpkin patch.  My kitchen would soon smell like cinnamon and cloves, and our bellies would be full of homemade soups and hot apple cider.  My stomach growled at the prospect.  Then, of course, there’s Thanksgiving and turkey and pumpkin pie…  We turned into our driveway, and I was shaken from my reverie.  I climbed out of the car and stretched my arms towards the sky.  What a glorious day, I thought.  And what a great reminder to find joy in each moment –in each season– of our lives.  As we unpacked the car, I thought about the ride home and smiled.  It seems God has provided a balm to sooth the pain of summer’s end.  It’s called fall.  I sighed.  I LOVE this time of year!

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