I woke up that morning and noticed immediately the new nip in the air when I let the dogs out. The tingly goose bumps under my new paisley nightgown confirmed what I suspected. Crisp fall mornings were now in session.
Dragging the perfectly organized giant red wagon over to the picnic table at the Farmer’s Market, I realized what I had forgotten. 58 degrees doesn’t last long in a Texas September, and no, it’s actually not quite sweater weather.
For the next few hours, I sweated profusely under my clothes.
I finger painted, smiled and kept conversations alive with little Picassos who couldn’t wait to create, grabbing for brushes, sponges, and being somewhat careful not to spill, mix colors or get it on their clothes.
Sweet Nikita needs her own art studio.
I couldn’t stop staring at the way she carefully blended the palette to make her picture somehow magical. The colors came to together to make her page come to life.
There was the boy who took his time, carefully painting each branch a different color and I commented on his uniqueness.
“You are an original,” I told him. “I’ve had dozens of kids here today, and no one has thought to paint their tree like that.”
He smiled in that shy way, letting me know he was happy, but also a little bit embarrassed by the compliment. We all need to know we are special. Our unique differences bring out the best. Like the leaves in fall, no two people exactly the same.
We change over time.
Scientific words like photosynthesis and chlorophyll aren’t in my everyday vocabulary. In prepping for the kids’ craft, I was amazed to discover what I probably learned in third-grade science class.
Leaves show their true colors in the fall.
The crunching, the jumping, and the memory of the smell of leaves burning in a barrel in my grandpa Terrill’s backyard are fall reminders of the changing seasons.
Something new is coming.
We make it through seasons of drought and indifference. We anticipate the harvest, the bounty, the plenty.
I think about fall and the fall and am so grateful for days gone by and our own growing seasons. I’m thankful for the day someone subtly reminded me of a life lesson and a line from a movie, “Funny how falling feels like flying, for a little while.”
Just a little while.
If you’ve ever stood and watched the last leaf float to the ground, it brings an unexplainable peacefulness. The way I imagine it would feel to stand under the colorfully painted leaves of sweet Nikita’s tree.
When the last leaf falls, it leaves behind a barren tree with sturdy branches. It stands better, boldly grounded in the crisp new air, waiting expectantly for a new season.
And lasting changes that bring new life.