I know, fallish isn’t a word. When it is underlined in red on my computer screen, a right click gives me the option of correcting it to Fallfish or Tallish. Why you could be tallish and not have it be fallish doesn’t make sense to me, but I’m too tired on this fall-like day to look it up. Although Fallfish is pretty curiosity peaking, isn’t it?
Fall is the season of orange and yellow, harvest and bare trees, the beginning of shorter days and longer nights. Outdoor work gives way to indoor tasks, gardening gets exchanged for crocheting. Despite the vibrant colors and the promise of holidays, I’m always sad in the fall.
The change from fall to winter, from winter to spring and even spring to summer seems gradual to me. There is an easing from one to the next, cool to cooler, cooler to warmer, warmer to hot. But here in Southern California, where our hottest times of the year are often in the fall, it’s the shift in light that seems like a curtain yanked closed on a season. It’s still hot, it’s still sunny, and feels like summer until late afternoon when darkness crashes down on the day. It’s an abrupt and cruel way to end a day that is just beginning to cool and slow. No more evening walks after dinner, or sitting on the porch watching the sunset. The sun drops like a stone while I’m in the kitchen cooking, and it’s headlights through the window that lets me know my husband is home.
I notice it immediately, this shortening of daylight. It has always affected me, some years more than others and I’ve learned to let go my impulse to overcome it by a force of will and just let it wash over me until it’s past. I immerse myself in Bible study and football until I find an uneasy rhythm in the early darkness. Once winter hits and football ends, the most important date on the calendar is the one that marks the return of daylight savings time.
I’ve heard all the advice and tried all the techniques, short of buying a ridiculously expensive light that mimics sunlight or moving to Arizona. It is what it is, and it is, as we are so fond of saying, just a season.
Without fall, there would be no promise of spring. When I lived in Ohio, the encouragement was that about the time you were getting sick of a season, it was starting to change. When you think you can’t take anymore cold, dreary wet days, the snow begins to fall. When you are sick of shoveling snow and having beanie hair, the lake begins to thaw and the daffodilsbegin to bloom. When the weight of humidity is just about unbearable, there is a wisp of cooling and the first leaf falls. Truly, every season holds a promise.
We love the promises of God, especially the ones that make us feel hopeful of change. It’s in the waiting for the promise that can be hard, that can be faith challenging and wearisome. While the circumstances change, God’s word never does. No matter the season, it is unfailing.
What are you waiting for?
While you wait, wait expectantly, the promise of spring is coming.