Fall, as it is in southern Georgia, is sometimes maligned as nonexistent or considered an extension of summer. Comparisons are made to other portions of the United States: Our fall lacks the magnificent color change; how fall should feel does not match the temperature gauge.
Comparisons are odious. South Georgia fall temperatures and colors cannot resemble North Georgia's anymore than the topography. There are no mountains to hike, if anything, the ground beneath is subject to suddenly sinking when limestone beneath the surface dissolves. Not far from this carpet of leaves and straw exists such a depression in the earth, albeit a minor one, not the house-gobbling news-making size.
I found a bit of flaming orange atop a crepe myrtle. I also spotted a beautiful branch of oxblood colored leaves on a Bradford pear tree, but a steady rain arrived before I could capture it. All not stunning as the dramatic colors created in other regions by a more marked decrease in green chlorophyll of the leaves, in other words, there is more sunlight and rain here.
As I walked about the acreage, I thought of something a pastor spoke the day prior. He said God does not compare us, that we are in a line of one before Him. I mulled over the message of yesterday, gesturing to my left and right with my forefinger, thinking to myself I am not judged by the people on either side of me. On a six-plus acre bit of land, I can gesticulate with abandon as none but the wildlife will see. I then pointed behind me and silently added, not that person either. Pointing in front of me to cover all directions, I said to myself, nor that person.
And I realized I'd drawn a cross in which I was standing in the center, the intersection of a rugged beam and crossbar. To my sides and beneath were nail holes, above, blood stains from a crown of thorns. If I remain in the center of His will, the abundant life Jesus gave me by this very sacrifice, there is no need to look left, right, behind or ahead.
Yesterday as I listened to the anointed message, I wished I'd worn steel-toed boots instead of pretty slides encrusted with faux jewels, exposing ten sparkly pink results of a pedicure I didn't have to hide due to our temperate climate. My life does not resemble the hectic pace so revered in an era of multi-tasking and constant electronic hook-up, badges self-pinned with exhausted hands honoring the quantity of tasks juggled, a sadly frenetic attempt to count one's worth. I confess, I have often detected an unspoken peer pressure that I don't measure up. Never mind a long and happy marriage, two children successfully educated, employed and launched, plus one book published.
The present season of my life is one of prayer and contemplation. Key words, season and my.
The Lord knows what is best for me where I am, same as His decree that parts of Earth might be more stunning than others in certain seasons. I am where He placed me and with whom. "The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance." Psalm 16:6 ESV This is a verse I found nearly three decades ago when I was pining to live in town amongst a bevy of neighbors instead of relatively rural isolation. It was a divinely appointed discovery which signaled I was at the right place in the right time.
During my customary hour-long walk on the same property I once longed to escape, I thanked the Lord for a pleasant husband, one who cherishes having a nearly ever-present home companion, and our sweet life together. I thanked God for the companionship of a grand-dog, Maggie, who stayed behind when her master left to seek his fortune, and incidentally, climb mountains, in Colorado. I said hello to the cat who won't die, 19-year-old Sassy, who was also left behind when her master went across town to his present destiny.
I pondered a lesson I tried to instill in my now grown children, we must fully appreciate where we are, else we may not be thankful for where we find ourselves next. Funny how we must relearn lessons we once taught others. As for myself, my geography remains the same and the Lord is speaking quietly in my heart the contented respect of the present in deference to where I am going.
And for what it's worth, I detest cold weather and am grateful for every day considered unseasonably warm. Just as they are not out of place or time, neither am I.