2: a time of full maturity, esp. the late stages of full maturity or, sometimes, the early stages of decline
Each year around this time, I feel compelled to write about how much I love autumn. Sometimes it's the weather that serves as my muse. A few September weeks of 90 plus degree heat will make you want to sing, cuddle with your spouse, go for an evening walk, sit outside and read a book or all of the above. Sometimes it's food that makes me want to celebrate the arrival of the autumnal equinox. I love making soups, chilis and cool weather foods like chicken and dumplings. Sometimes it's the seasonal activities. We're merely a few weeks into the football season and there have already been great games. Did you watch Alabama pull out a victory over Arkansas? What about Auburn and South Carolina's shoot-out? Or Vandy's victory over Ole Miss? All great games.
The weather, the food and the football are all valid reasons to love fall. But this year fall's beauty for me is that it's the total package. It's all of the things I've already said, combined with the fact that I don't have to decide whether to wear boots - I can simply decide which pair of boots to wear. It's the fact that fall leads to family holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas and I can joyfully plan (even now, months ahead) for projects to do with my daughters to celebrate how others have blessed our family.
Fall is also a busy time for our family. It's soccer. It's ballet. It's choir. But these are things my daughters love and I delight to allow them to do those things and to watch them grow in their gifts. And I get the opportunity daily to be thankful for a husband who is a partner in the truest sense of the word. A man who will coach a soccer team, make dinner on a Sunday night and shuttle daughters to and from activities when said daughters need to be in two different places at the same time.
This autumn brings differences from seasons past. Instead of ramping up for adding Nutcracker rehearsals to regular ballet classes, we are finishing up a fall production of The Little Engine that Could and starting Nutcracker rehearsals with several weeks of overlap. Instead of me balancing housework on the weekdays while the girls are at school, the girls are learning to balance their chore load with school work and busy weekends. Instead of guarding our time by not over-committing to volunteer commitments at a church where we have been for years, we are trying to meet people in a new congregation with the time that we do have available to us.
But fall is still fall. I'm wearing boots today. The first pot of chili is not far away. A Saturday of great football (UT/LSU and Bama/Florida) awaits me in six days. Southwestern pumpkin soup will be made in the near future - B's favorite.
And as I revel in the many gifts of the fall season, I'll be pondering the second definition of autumn listed above. Because while I'm not sure I've reached full maturity, I do long to mature into who I'm made to be. I long to prepare myself for the hibernation of winter by taking full advantage of the urge to slow down during autumn's shorter days and cooler temps. Mostly, I want to savor this season for all it offers.