Although it might be bad luck to proclaim it, autumn seems to have finally arrived in North Texas. True, we can wear sandals and capri pants for another month or so (as long as they aren't white). Maybe, though, just please-please-PLEASE, we won't need air-conditioning.
I love fall. It has always been my favorite season. I love the contrasts, the tang and tartness, and relish the increase in my energy. More than spring, autumn is a time of promise. Maybe it's the gratitude factor. I'm so diggity-dog filled with joy and thankfulness each six a.m. when I walk out the front door into the crisp air to find my newspaper that my whole day is colored with optimism. Between classes I step outside to watch the lopedy-dopedy-dope flight of thousands of Monarch butterflies headed to Mexico in no particular hurry, and thank heaven for forces and patterns way beyond my understanding.
I strain my eyes to spot the highest orange butterflies against the piercing blue sky. The energy is in the vibrating boundaries between intense opposites. I admit to teaching about complementary colors through experience, not through science or theory. I want kids to have their very own Oh, Wow! moment when they paint with orange and blue. There's all that energy created by completing the whole in a composition of opposites. I love showing them that artists modulate the values and the dominance of the opposing forces to create extremely satisfying works of art. I love showing photos of landscapes with Nature's own color lessons. I pray that my students occasionally look away from the obnoxious animated farting warthogs and belching squirrels on PG-rated dvds playing above the back seats of their SUVs, and turn their gaze out the window to a bright cobalt sky, pale peach ripples on water, or shadows of darkest violet.
Fall is all about the vibrating boundaries between the catsup and mustard on the steamed hot dog from the chilly football concession stand manned by those long-suffering band booster parents. It's the bee-busy mauve blooms against the 15" tall light green leaves of Sedum spectabile. Five more weeks, and autumn will be shiny wet cadmium yellow leaves against pale lavender drizzle. Then it will be time for hooded sweatshirts, plaid flannel, and corduroy.
To everything there is a season... This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it:
Let our hearts lift up like hot air balloons at dawn and float over the early youth soccer games played on the chilly, dewy city parks & rec fields. Let our spirits alight between sweet-smelling hay bales next to impressive sun-warmed pumpkins for sale in the parking lots of suburban mega-churches.
Let us call up our maturing sons on their cell phones or Skype and feel humbled in conversations with self-sufficient young adults. Allow us to cherish the knowledge that each son belongs to something far greater than their parents' clueless efforts.
Let our souls rest and replenish on river sandbars with 4-H recipe oatmeal cookies and the college football game on a transistor radio. May each of us be fed by the memory of church youth group road trips in rusty pale blue hot rods to Waubonsie State Park across the Missouri River in Iowa.
May we leap and dance with Frisbees and tamborines. Let us be jubilant with vibrating color boundaries and homecoming mums. Aunts Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy will remind us to buy a half-gallon of icy Nebraska City apple cider and a jar of clover honey on the way home!
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the Moon & the Stars & the Sun
I came down from Heaven & I danced on Earth
At Bethlehem I had my birth:
Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He.