I’ve a confession to make; I absolutely love fall. It is, in fact, easily my favorite season. I like all the seasons in their place, but as far as I’m concerned, fall could last a lot longer than any of the others.

The instant I feel that first fall chill, I almost go nuts. I like the sharp sting of of the air as I breathe it in through my nostrils, sort of like savoring the taste of a spicy food (the kind that lets you know you’re alive, but doesn’t kill you).

It makes me feel like running. Like jumping into a pile of leaves. Like tackling the nearest person carrying a football. I feel I should always be grateful to be alive and I usually do, but somehow it’s easier in the fall.

One reason fall is great, is because that is when all the real sports start.

That’s right. Football and basketball are the real sports and I make no apologies for thinking that. Especially basketball. College basketball. Jayhawks basketball, to be precise. Having lived in Kansas all my life, basketball is the sport. I could go on for a long time, but let’s suffice it to say that in Kansas most of us get pretty excited when this time of the year rolls around.

It’s also the end of baseball. I have no doubt that watching a baseball game in person would be great, but I don’t really have that opportunity, so I go only by what I’ve seen on television. It’s dreadfully boring. It takes ages for much of anything to happen. After the batter has fouled off ten straight pitches, and you finally think something cool is going to happen, he whiffs the last pitch and the other team gets to take their turn at doing the same thing.

Maybe it’s not quite that bad, but it seems that way sometimes. I think the best way to watch a baseball game is to simply watch the Sports Center recap.

Another reason that makes fall great, is the excuse for larger amounts of coffee and tea. I know, who needs an excuse for that? But there’s nothing like enjoying fall weather with a hot drink in your hand. I enjoy the way they complete each other perfectly. The warmth of the mug in your hand, with the placid coolness of autumn air is simply magical. I pause and say to myself, Self, this is beautifully appropriate. I have a cup of coffee in the morning year round, but really, it’s even more satisfying in the fall.

The final reason fall is so great, is because of the colors. Oh, the colors!

The vivid blue of the Kansas sky in autumn provides a perfect backdrop to the stunning yellows, oranges, and reds of autumn. They contrast beautifully with the stately darks of the trees’ trunks and branches–especially after a good rain. It darkens the tones in the wood, making the leaves’ colors appear even brighter.

It also brings out some gorgeous contrasts in the different prairie grasses. As I drove the two and a half hour route from Hutchinson to Copeland after a beautiful rain, I was struck by color differences in the various grasses like I’ve never been before. The subtle mixes of orange and brown, were blended in such a perfect manner.

So occasionally, when I see such beauty, I wish life were simpler; that we humans wouldn’t have turned it into a rat race; that we wouldn’t have to feel, as Biblo Baggins put it, “like . . . butter scraped over too much bread.” Why do we do that to ourselves?

As time runs away from me, I continue to feel more strongly, as Don Miller suggests in Through Painted Deserts, that the simplistic beauty of the natural, that God Himself created, will make us feel a lot more human than any modern wonder conjured up by the minds of men. People constantly look for, they know not what, in the next big thing that money can buy, and don’t realize that they will never find it there.

But then some of that “stuff” is so handy. I love some of that “stuff.” So maybe I don’t know what I want.

Occasionally I wonder how I would do without it–which is pathetic. And then, circumstantially, I neglect the “stuff” for a little while and it feels refreshing, not crippling, so perhaps there is hope for me after all.

There it is. If you don’t like fall, hopefully I gave you a reason, or you thought of a reason to like it more, or maybe you are just hopeless. Something like that. Enjoy fall. It’s there so you might as well enjoy it. Life is too short to spend wishing things were different. Either that or you can be miserable. It’s your choice of course.

And . . . finally, in honor of fall. I will share with you a song: The Cure for Pain by Jon Foreman from his Fall EP.


6 comments on “Fall

  1. Sherilyn Miller says:

    Happy dance!! YES! Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, always, and especially now in Kansas. From a feminine standpoint you forgot candles, warm pjs, and good, thick, have to wade through books… 🙂 If I had all the money I wanted at disposal, those three things would rate pretty high. (Hot tea and music are of course assumed.) Your paragraphs on Kansas beauty and becoming more human when embracing God in nature so resonate, so beautifully written, I can taste it, and so so true.

    A bit of the melancholy in me always comes out in fall for me too, I hope not mushy sentiment!! I used to always groan when people talked about comparing our lives to the seasons. But the older I get, and the more I see how short this portion of our life is on earth… I love to watch the handful of people I know who have stayed alive and who have lived richly and well in spite of gut wrenching pain and strange twists that life seems to hand everyone at times. And life in their fifties-seventies just seems to have a radiance, wisdom, and richness that even in the midst of aging outwardly seems to carry a stunning, and softening strength/beauty, that even youth in all its wonderful glory and passion can’t outshine. While it seems those people may be somewhat a rare species already, I have to wonder if it will even be more rare for our generation… who like the butter spread so thin have no time to reflect and embrace, and as a result will have ghosts of souls in our old age. And believe me, I have my own things I rather think I can’t do without.

    Ok, so maybe I need to learn something about Jon Foreman, I didn’t think I was old quite yet… his songs just strike something pretty deep, hard to put in words. So off to google.. 🙂 Amazon?

    • rjshetler says:

      Yes. Definitely books. And you’re right hot tea and music are definitely a given.

      It’s scary to think about the “best” things I’m missing because of the “good” things in my life and also just the pace of it all. “Reflecting and embracing” like you put it are extremely important.

      Jon Foreman. Don’t get me started. I’ll talk your ear off. 🙂 The honesty and beauty with which he conveys very ordinary, very human struggles connects with me like few artists are capable of doing. He loves what he does. He can’t believe he makes music for living, that that’s his job. I think that wonder comes through in his music, and songwriting.

      He has four EP’s: one for each season. If I may make a recommendation, they are all great. If you want his most popular works from all four EP’s there is compilation album called “Limbs and Branches.” I’m not sure I could recommend just one EP though. They are all so good.

  2. Carla Barkman says:

    “like . . . butter scraped over too much bread.”….I’m afraid I know that feeling too much!
    I’m enjoying fall more this year than most….maybe because I’m in denial about how soon winter will be upon us. At any rate, I’ll enjoy it while it lasts!
    Was glad to see you posted again!!

    • rjshetler says:

      “Slow Down.” 🙂 Maybe you should come visit us.

      It was fun to do that again. Thanks for reading.

      • Carla Barkman says:

        I am trying to slow down! At least this month….after that, responsability calls and I’l be busy planning and making food for various Christmas events!
        And I think we’ll be coming out there for Christmas!

  3. Becca says:

    Wonderful descriptions! Reading, I got the same feeling I do when it seems I can step into a really good painting.

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