Playhouse, September 15, 2010

The red bud that stretches its branches outside our den window is wearing a few yellow-tipped leaves. My backyard tomato plants have succumbed to a greedy worm and the August temps. The prolific rose bush has stopped being prolific. The lonely call of the turtle dove grows more familiar each time I walk to the compost. My late evening rides from the nursing home are being escorted by less and less daylight. The punishing August humidity is showing a bit of mercy in the days of September. 

The bluebird house is unoccupied, and there are no prospective clients. The squirrels are delighted that the pears are finally edible and are indulging to their frisky hearts’ content. An occasional yellow butterfly visits our backyard but leaves with a sense of another destination. Early morning traffic is interspersed with buses transporting loads of backpacked youngsters.

All the signs point to the obvious. Summer days are all but over – save for the warm rays that still pick up steam around noon. Fall is waiting in the wings – about to turn our calendars. 

My initial response is to protest! Hold on fall! I haven’t gotten my fill of watermelon, cantaloupes and homemade ice cream. Vacations aren’t nearly long enough, and I need, really need, one more beach-front weekend. What about my ferns? They’ve just now reached a respectable size. You know what one night of Jack Frost does to them. 

The mid-week visits from our grandchildren whetted my appetite for more. Four-wheeler rides minus children’s laughter aren’t even appropriate. It’ll soon be time to pull out wool slacks and opaque hose. The freedom and comfort of summer shorts and sandals have spoiled me just like they do every year.

All my whines and pity-partying over the exiting summer will have no effect on its departure. The seasons are under God’s sovereign control, and He continues to spin our tiny planet into new days. It’s just another reminder of the brevity of life. James punched a hole in thoughts of longevity when he described life as “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” 

 With that in mind, I need to use the changing seasons as an incentive to heed the psalmist’s prayer: “Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”