"Before you can search for truth, you must be interested in finding it." -Miroslav Volf

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beauty and Fall

When I could first sense the recent seasonal change, I was not initially acquiescent. The warm, outdoorsy life of summer passed too quickly. But now that I’ve embraced the season (and the fact that seasons aren’t all that concerned with my will), I’m enjoying the moment.

It might have been today in particular, as the cloudy sky and cool, crisp air made for a peaceful, sublime day. This perfect weather brings to mind a few of my favorite aspects of fall...

Pumpkin Wheat Ale. New discovery this fall. Thought it might be a good concept that didn’t work for me in practice (like Pumpkin Spice Lattes...maybe I just need to add another shot), but I love it.

World Series. I would care significantly more if my team was in it, but it’s still the last bit of baseball for several months.

Candy Pumpkins. No fat! But they are candy and feel slightly nutritionally naughty. Consequently, a ritual has developed in the Boswell household. Joann and I inform one another every time we eat a pumpkin, I guess partly as accountability, and partly because we like quirky rituals.

Fireplace use. Before work today I spent some time out in the small forest adjacent to our apartment complex, using my saw to cut up fallen limbs and trees (no living trees were harmed) into fireplace-sized logs. This process has a way of making me very aware, very mindful of nature, my needs, and of what I take for granted. Turning on the electric heat is effortless, costly, and abstract compared to entering nature, strenuously cutting and gathering wood, waiting days for the wood to dry, and lighting and tending a fire over the course of the evening. But I find the involved process rich, the natural warmth comforting, and the sweet, smoky smell fragrant. Totally worth it.

New episodes of favorite TV shows. Favorite standbys: Community, Parks and Rec, Modern Family, Office, Big Bang Theory. Favorite newbies: New Girl, Person of Interest. (Does this point seem odd, considering the previous?)

New students. Summer is a chaotic and exciting time at EF, with lots of student turnover due to shorter stays at the school. Many more of our current students will stay for much longer, which partly excites me for their sake; the community that develops among students during the regular school year is deeper with more time spent together, which is fun to watch. It’s also fun as a teacher to have more time with students, for the sake of classroom productivity and for relationships with students, in and out of class. (But I love and miss you, summer crowd!)

Fall scented candles! (said with Zoolander “Orange Mocha Frappuccinos!” enthusiasm). I’ve got “spiced pumpkin pie” burning next to me, with “cozy fire” and “warm cider” occupying two other rooms. SO good.

Colors. What a beautiful parallel the cycle of nature is to the human story, individual and collective. What a magnificent spectrum of color among the leaves—those fallen, falling, and still clinging to branches, not quite ready to accept that their time has come. It's a nice built-in reminder of several facets of the human experience: the inherent beauty of those on the backside of life; the beauty and rightness of death and the need to embrace and not fear or desperately try to avoid its inevitability; and the hope that our impending “sleep” is not the end but a predecessor to new life. The gift of fall is a gift not only of beauty but of hope.

1 comment:

joann renee said...

Thanks for buying those candles. Fall is the best. Besides you.