I don't think I have ever seen anything in nature quite as beautiful as New Jersey in the fall.
I walk out my back door and down the little gravel road to a temple of colors that pulls my soul out of the hard place it's been hiding and it beats with wonder and delight as Autumn sings to me, like a chorus of crimson and orange trumpeting angels.
What will I do when winter comes and covers it all with gray and cold?
Can I stop winter from arriving this year?
What if I tell it that I'm just not ready or explain to it that I've found joy in Autumn and I'd prefer it not change?
Can my security in this season hold back the inevitable frost?
I expect that winter will respond in it's natural way, with silence and a shiver through my bones.
Sometimes, I spend a lot of time trying to find a way to convince winter to stay away.
While I do that, I don't go outside and absorb the season I am in.
Winter comes anyway, and often, as I look out my window and watch the snow fall or cuddle with my kids on the couch with cookies and hot chocolate I remind myself that I love winter, too.
Each season comes exactly when it should.
And even though I KNOW this, it is hard to remember.
Why is it that the things we know are often the things that we can't quite seem to remember when we are scared of what comes next.?
I know that you can take plants, put them in an artificial environment and trick them into blooming before it is their proper season.
I think the world does this to us, too.
Sometimes we find ourselves in an environment where we get our needs met artificially and we start stretching our roots and try to grow right away, right there-- without making sure it is the correct time for it.
When the right season is there, we've already lost our petals and our bodies are moving on to a new cycle as our souls freak out, knowing it's on a different timeline than our body now.
The soul knows when to grow, when to change, when to bloom.
The world usually tells us something else, and we let it trick us.
We do things that we are not to do in that season and it weakens us and hurts us.
We feel removed from everything natural, everything that is growing as it should.
We separate ourselves from the people who are growing properly, we don't fit anymore.
We know something is not right within our hearts, but we do not know how to fix it. We opened ourselves up and gave our best to artificial light and an environment that promised to be an easier way to 'good enough'.
I think we all have this struggle.
But it is a different thing when you have a child, struggling with how exposed and confused they are when they lived a season too many in the climate controlled, but worthless environment the world offered them. A child who is convinced that they cannot grow with sunlight wind and having to reach beyond the walls of where the world planted them.
As a parent, I look at my own mistakes as the cause.
Maybe in finding the flaws in my work, I can undo all the damage that the world has done.
I want to fix everything, to get it all going and growing as it should be.
And I can control that about as much as I can control the changing seasons.
Just as winter will bring some chilly mornings and my joints will ache, winter comes next to New Jersey.
My child will do what comes next and I must not try to love him so much that I stop the natural changing of the seasons of the heart. I must not build a greenhouse that tricks him, even if a greenhouse seems awfully safe from where Mommy sits.
I know better.
And I forget until I look outside, catch a glimpse of the orange and scarlet leaves piling up beneath the trees and I remember that life is best lived by the experience of seasons and each of the seasons, even the cold ones, are beautiful.