For everything there is a season. A time to laugh. A time to mourn. A time to dance. A time to embrace and a time to refrain. A time to tear and a time to mend. Dear Reader, if you just silently hummed the old tune by The Byrds… you might be over 40.
The season of summer: I like it well. Should it matter that it’s so hot that I’ve got a few fried geckos in my mailbox? Still, I like summer just the same.
Allowing the passage of summer days without taking some time to just be still, why, it would surely be one of the semi-greatest travesties any living soul could conceive. Why? Summer is magical. A harvest time of long-awaited fruit, summer pauses time and advances it all at once. It is a season of reflection that, when accompanied with elements of nature like sunbeams or fresh-water lakes, morphs into an addicting habit that beckons to be repeated daily.
Long sunrise strolls that I have loved since I was a young girl are my preferred pastime of summer. Hairbrush…. not required for this journey. No, no. Not at all. The luxury of a stroll, deep within the countryside beneath a blanket of fresh morning air tops any gym workout. The sound of nothingness coupled with chirping birds, the Creator’s morning hymn.
Morning strolls reward and water the soul, paying dividends throughout the day. The spirit is renewed, the mind transformed, the body restored to a healthier state. Leave the iPhone behind and, for goodness sake, please don’t aim for a goal of 60 minutes. It’s better to just know when it’s time to go home.
In a recent visit to my home in the country, I strolled each morning at sunrise and again each evening as the stillness ushered in the approaching nightfall. Strolling right alongside me was my late father’s displaced canine friend, George W. Bush. I experienced what I thought was going to be another coyote encounter when a fence that needed to be mended allowed him to escape his boundaries, but as it turns out it was only a crazed, blue-eyed herding dog from a neighboring ranch. My orphaned “watchdog” George W. Bush was nowhere to be found then. Of course.
I ran across 1 rattlesnake, 1 armadillo skin, and a thousand wild fruits and flowers. I spent some time fishing before dawn and caught 1 catfish and 3 sac-au-lait. When I was tired of fishing, I just jumped into the lake, though I confess I was not unafraid of gators. I organized best-selling mystery novels, “how-to” and recipe books, and old encyclopedia collections and history books for my quiet time and for those who come behind me, just in case.
To entertain ourse
lves, my family sung our new pop-song parodies at the top of our lungs and cultivated a mini-tradition of texting each other pop-music catch phrases like “I woke up with a strange tattoo” at unexpected times throughout the day, usually to be followed by a response like “Baby, you’re a firework” or “It’s too late to apologize.”
I sliced and diced fresh summer vegetables and covered them with salt and freshly ground peppercorns and cilantro. We put together puzzles, played scrabble, told stories underneath antique handmade quilts, and even burned cinnamon and vanilla candles. I found my Father’s old French press coffee pot and displayed it proudly on the mantle, dreaming about the day I might ever use it.
But without a doubt, the highlight of my trip home occurred one day following a countryside stroll when I discovered that my Father had set his kitchen coffee pot to brew his morning’s first cup of coffee on the night before he died. I dumped the water out and brewed his final basket, serving it to my Granny in fine china. My Father made us coffee one last time. It was delightful.
In church on Father’s Day, when all the Dads were honored, I was brought to the reality again that it was my first year without him, but recalled his joke unaware of post-humously making the coffee for us. Somehow, I know better than to allow myself to think that it will be his final prank. He was quite a character and during my time in the country, whether I’m strolling or just eating a rather generous hunk of pecan pie—it brings me back to the time when he lived there, too.
Pondering the Heavenly Father’s mighty works and abiding presence, deeply meditating on the heart of all that life eternal is, we might just discover quiet strength that can only be heightened while strolling in the remote countryside. Somewhere in the thick of morning or beside the glow of dusk, it’s easier to find the power to look forward and press on. We can give thanks for the little somethings that bless our daily lives. In the midst of it all, I can see my son has a brand new freckle on his face. Freckle number 176 to be exact. In two weeks’ time, his legs have grown like a young colt made ready to run a race. Together we’ve been on the very intellectual journey of reading Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder by Jo Nesbo and then, of course, its sequel, Bubble in the Bathtub. What fun! Times like these are like precious jewels.
Summer is a season that is frequently coupled with the word “time”. If we are wise, we make an investment with the Lord and our loved ones, creating milestones and memories for the years to come. It can be a season to laugh, mourn, dance, embrace, refrain, or tear down the old; but almost always, I have found that summer is a season to mend. That is more than enough.
In the morning, let me lift my voice to You.
When the day is done, let me run to You.
When the sky is dark, You are my bright Light.
Let me not forget to seek You.
All my life is Yours, Oh Lord!
For I will be still and know…
That You are God.
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