Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Autumn Blessings

I saw a sign in a gift shop window today which read “Autumn Blessings” and it reminded me of the thoughts flitting round my head.  Time to sort them out into some semblance of order, sit down and write….

I love autumn.  I have just been into the garden and picked apples and rhubarb for a crumble for tea – delicious!  I adore the colours of autumn, the crisp leaves that turn from fresh green to a dazzling golden display and the crunch as you stride through them.

Some of the trees in our garden are already changing colour, particularly the horse chestnut trees and there lies, literally scattered about the garden, the downside of autumn.

  • Downside number 1:  Horse chestnut trees produce conkers.  As beautiful and shiny as they may be they announce the arrival of the season of children coming into our garden.  We have already given away a few bags to the well-mannered youngsters who knock and ask, remembering their “pleases” and “thank yous”.   However there are some, generally older youths and the occasional adult, who think they have a right to be here and give you abuse if you ask them politely to leave.  So far this hasn’t happened this year, a bit early perhaps, but it makes me feel tense and angry just thinking about it.
  •  Downside number 2:  The leaves will eventually fall along with the conkers and that will give us another task to master.  The grass and leaf collector will have to be hitched to the lawnmower/tractor.  To be honest there are still dead leaves in it from last year.  The leaves Andrew picked up probably only days before he died.  The jobs in our huge garden are never ending.
But despite the problems associated with this time of year autumn is a beautiful season.   Along with all the other seasons,  I can never decide on a favourite.   They all have their merits and their drawbacks.

As the summer has drawn well and truly to a close and the boys have settled back into the school routine I think more and more of my own season of life that started so abruptly last November – my season of being a widow.  The onset of autumn will forever make me remember my heartache.  

In the spring I watched with wonder as new things were growing, new buds awakening.  Spring is such a hopeful time for a new start.  Autumn feels like everything is dying again.  Closing up and shutting down for the winter.  Sometimes I wish I could hibernate until the warmer days again.  Close the curtains and shut out the world for a few months.

My GP has put me on anti-depressants which I think must be working to some degree because those thoughts are not as prevalent as they were a couple of weeks ago.  I can write about it without the need to curl up and cry.

There are bright spots in my days and in my garden particularly.  My honeysuckle has provided the most amazing display this year; my sweet peas are still flowering and filling my home with their beautiful fragrance.  I can see two bright sunflowers from my window as I type and another one has grown unexpectedly where a stray seed must have landed.  The hydrangea bush keeps growing and blossoming and my rose bush which flowered and then seemed to die off before the summer months has all of a sudden come into bloom again!

Little reminders that there is still beauty and hope to be found.

There is laughter too and sometimes children playing in my garden that are invited and allowed to collect conkers to their heart’s delight!

Those of us at church with children meet every Friday for a shared tea and for the last two weeks we have met at our house.  It’s unusual to meet twice in a row at the same venue but I enjoyed welcoming my friends once more.  We have the biggest house and garden and I’m not trying to boast by saying that.  It is a pleasure to entertain and be able to share our good fortune and plentiful space.

In the shower the other morning I remembered when we moved here and our prayer that we would use this house for God.  I think it was a reminder that God has always been here with us and an acknowledgement from him that we have opened our home as we promised to do.

With it being on the market our time here is limited and only God knows how much longer we will be able to share this special home and garden with our friends.  He also knows where we will move to next.

I can imagine him shuffling the pieces in the right order, like those square puzzles where you slide the pieces along to make the picture but on a much grander scale.  Sometimes I have such strange images of the Almighty!

My prayer is that when the timing is right for our new season to begin it all goes smoothly with everything magnificently falling into place.

Until then I will gather the conkers, rake up the leaves, and pick the blackberries, apples and rhubarb, remembering to enjoy my autumn blessings.

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