Autumn Dance

Autumn is clearly my favorite time of year. When I grew up in Texas, there were only two seasons. Either the leaves were lush and green or dead crunchy brown. Colorado offers color and brisk air that is incomparable.

Here are some quotes from famous people who felt as much allurement towards Autumn as I do.

“I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.” – Nathaniel Hawthorn

“Autumn wins you best by this, its mute Appeal to sympathy for its decay.” – Robert Browning

“We are reformers in the spring and summer, but in autumn we stand by the old. Reformers in the morning, and conservers at night.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” – George Eliot

I’m feeling [insert adjective]

As autumn begins its merry dance and trees across the still green lawn shake gold hues into their leaf tips, the wind changes shape. The sky changes its face. The rift between the livelihood of summer and the dead of winter reveals itself as an inevitable change and plasters in colorful cracking coats, exciting thoughts and refreshing the imagination.

I noticed that when people ask me how I’m doing, if I state a mere “I’m feeling O.K.” then the day feels dull and feelings of inability shoot through my core. But when I reply “I’m doing Fantastic!”, “I’m feeling Great!” something changes. And like the autumn blaze in the season before us a feeling of capability and creativity begin its constructive work.

Last week my wife and I had a discussion about change. About changes that lie before us and the changes we’ve been through. About the habits of millionaires and the activities of people who lead happy lives. Through that conversation two immediate changes came up.

1. Drop the TV.
A good amount of what we watch is educational, but still entertaining. Shows like Good Eats and Mythbusters are peppered with documentaries on health, finances and history. There’s still some mindless entertainment, though. Last night I took some down-time watching a couple of three-stooges episodes. And though I only watch 10 hours of non-scheduled programs a week, opposed to the national average of 19 hours, that’s still 10 hours that could be pared down to 2 (for Family Movie Night).

2. Spend that extra time reading.
My personal take on reading has been to find something that excites the imagination. But reading books to hone and create skills, to challenge and build faith and to encourage thought and creativity need to be more prevalent. The idea is that if I can inspire my desires into action then I’d be more successful in life. For example, I could be a better photographer, a better Dad, a better Husband, a better thinker, a more creative programmer, and overall enjoy life more with a change in attitude and thought that comes through reading and applying.

So those are my two major lifestyle changes that have come up recently. I hate it when people say “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” or “you’re too old to change”. Bah! That negative attitude didn’t bring them any success. Statements like that are insulting. They’re saying “you’re incapable, unintelligent, too complacent, unmotivated, uncreative…” At the heart of the matter is a lack of faith in God. The Bible is loaded with examples of men, young and old alike, changing. Anything I create I can change. Similarly, anything God creates He can change.

So what am I feeling? I’m feeling change!

Stepping Into Autumn

Nothing brings a skip to my heart with the anticipation of fun and excitement like Autumn. As God’s carefully orchestrated song of color, odor and sounds fill the cool fall breeze, the hot angry days of summer come to a close and the cold bitter days of winter are still distant enough to forget them. The senses fall upon me as the wind that carries them flits in my hair; it causes me to remember my youth – any good of it – and the regrets of not taking more advantage of the good when I had it.

My parents, for example, made so many sacrifices for me but I didn’t learn as a child to appreciate them. How do you teach a child to appreciate? They don’t know the effort involved. Sometimes parents don’t either.

My children are all so unique. Sometimes I have to seek out what they appreciate. For example, running across a series of straw bales doesn’t look exciting to me, but to one of my daughters it’s a thrill! Her face lights up as she realizes that her Daddy endorses a little frolicking on the large golden bricks.

As Summer turns to Autumn, and leaves change in the cooling breeze I’m reminded of the importance of change. It reminds us of that which is constant. How when we fall apart, our loving God and caring parents are there to piece us back together.

And while nothing gold can stay, perhaps these golden memories I have with my children now will stick around long enough for them to have their own families and share their fond memories of them to their children.