I took a short drive this morning. The speed limit is 23 here in our neighborhood. Not one mile higher. The teenagers find it binding, I find it delightful.
I love being forced to slow.
Rounding the wide curve, with the pasture to my right, I spotted a neighbor. Woolen hat pulled low to his eyebrows and two dogs fighting for position as he walked, a bounce in his step on this blustery Autumn day. He waved and smiled, his cheeks revealing lines created by years of practice. Such a genuine joy in his face that I couldn’t help but return it.
I was on my way to the gym where I would push and pull and sweat and, strangely, love every minute of it. But the drive leading up to my session was devoid of stress, beautifully lined with orange-bedecked trees showing off just a little longer. The horses huddled, two-by-two as the wild wind blew their manes and tails, creating dramatic poses from what would have been simple still-lifes. The tan one lifted his handsome head and watched me pass by. I wished I had a few carrots with which to treat him.
I prayed this year for Autumn, that it would be long and not too hot, not too cold. I selfishly believe God made it perfect just for me. It is, truly, the most beautiful and bright Autumn I have seen since moving to Tennessee and that is saying a lot. Tennessee Autumns are generally lovely, but often too short. Not this year, though. Autumn came gently and has stayed a nice, long while. She doesn’t need to hurry on my account, I assure you.
The cooler temperatures energize me. Daylight savings has come and gone and now the sun sets early, just after 4:30 in the afternoon. It makes the evenings feel long and lures me here or to my notebook to write. I start putting words to page and find myself editing, reshaping the stories and searching for just the right words, knowing they are out there somewhere.
The wind is howling and rain beats against the windows and I give thanks that, despite the stresses and strains of my day, a storm is blowing in and washing everything clean. Both outside and within me.
And that is a much-needed gift.
Why am I rambling like this? Well, I have some advice…I hope you will take it:
Step outside today. Look up, letting your eyes focus as far away as possible. Notice the clouds, the stars, the way the birds dance before they settle on the highest limb. Listen to the wind, the train in the distance and the leaves bouncing along the sidewalk. Let your senses rest and be still. Wave and smile at your neighbor, then call your friend just to see what she is doing. No agenda, just easy conversation. Spend time counting blessings and maybe even write them down. You’ll need them later, when the blessings are harder to list. Talk to God about silly things, small things, because He cares about even those things. Isn’t that incredible? Breathe and sip tea while unsorted socks wait patiently in the laundry basket. They aren’t going any where, I promise. Then walk into the next thing, the awaiting tasks, refreshed and more able to focus because you took that Sabbath moment and gave your Creator a chance to do what He does best…Make all things new.