Sunday, October 25, 2009

Autumn's Joys

Looking out our living room windows beneath the overhanging white clouds in the pale blue sky and past the green lawn, past the lake, past the fields, and on to the encircling line of trees, we are surrounded by soft yellows, muted oranges, and gentle browns of autumnal leaves. This has been one of those perfect days here in Southern Illinois. Warm sunshine mixed with a gentle breeze made me remember why fall is my favorite season. No one could not rejoice on a day like today.

Gerald mowed the lawn again yesterday (and half the countryside around it) leaving the grass extra tall since he feels this would be the last mowing until spring. Except for eleven acres of late-planted beans and the replanted field of a nearby relative, Brian’s crops have been in the bin or already to the market for a long time now. With predictions of rains, that is very comforting. We still occasionally get a late tomato to add color to our dinner plates. Although our vines are already mostly dead and not as healthy as most years, I hope to gather a few green tomatoes tomorrow to wrap in old newspaper to finish ripening. Usually I have tomatoes for the Thanksgiving salad that way—and sometimes even for the Christmas salad.

Driving to our village church this morning, we let our eyes feast on the bright red of maples decorating yards and the sumac and sassafras enlivening the roadsides. We were in the mood to praise before we reached the church house.

Every week in our preschool class, we notice Caleb’s vocabulary growing. This morning it was exploding. In rapid succession, I heard him explain to Bobby that the blocks should be tall, big, high. He would repeat any words he heard from the other kids as well as us teachers, and the look on his face told us he was very conscious and proud of what he was doing.

Usually he only sits a moment or two for the short Bible story before he wanders off, but today he was as interested for almost as long as the older kids. And he loved putting beads on a bright red chenille stem to make a book marker. Out of the choice of red or yellow stem, he chose green, so though he knows the colors’ names, he isn’t onto which one is which yet. Bobby certainly knows, and he said he choose the yellow because his mommy loved yellow. It was pleasant to watch Miranda and Bobby being kind to each other and sharing beads. The kids think they are having fun. We certainly are. But we also know they are developing hand/eye coordination, which will make them better readers one of these days. Then they can read the Bible stories and discover Jesus’ teachings for themselves.

After worship service, Gerald took Brian and me to lunch before Brian had to load up to go back home to central Illinois. We came home to rest and watch TV—Gerald does the ball games and I try to catch some of Book Notes.

I drove back to the village for evening worship and our brief business meeting afterwards. Our much used fellowship hall is in our basement, which means those in chairs or with walking problems have the challenge of the stairs. Earlier our small congregation had voted to not build the needed fellowship hall on the ground floor until we had all the funds to pay for it. The building committee had secured a bid and it was beneath our built-up savings. With dreams of a new kitchen and dining hall and new restrooms with universal design one step closer, we voted unanimously to accept the bid. People weren’t in a hurry to leave as they visited and talked about these exciting plans. I drove the long way home, so I could go by Brian’s new field and enjoy the beauty of burning brush piles flaming in the dark.

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