The rain and the chill came on a brisk Friday evening. The night before, our yard had suddenly become covered in a blanket of yellow leaves, scattered about like gold confetti and welcoming us home to our cozy nook in the best of ways. I'm like a child when it comes to leaves. The more, the better. For the first time in nearly two months, our weekend stretched free before us - a completely blank white canvas that we had the opportunity to fill with whatever colors and brush strokes we wanted. And we chose to paint it with all the simple things that make up this sweet season of ours. A season coming to an end all too quickly.
I wrapped up work a little early and we ventured to the movie store to rent a pile of classics - Aladdin, Rookie of the Year, Hocus Pocus - all never before seen by our young ones. We stood in the pizza window of the video store and ordered our pie and wings, picked out our candy of choice and headed home to a rainy movie night. We lit all the candles, turned on all the twinkly lights, drank hot cocoa with mounds of marshmallows and didn't hit the sheets until we'd read through a couple of our brand new Halloween story books. It was a storybook night and just what was needed.
We glorify Fall sometimes just like we glorify busy. We fill our newsfeed and our blogs and our Instagram pictures with leaves and pumpkin patches and sweaters and traditions and family pictures and kids in costumes. We embrace this season so tightly because if we blink, we'll miss it. But Pastor Dave is right. He speaks on this often, and I'm learning more and more how true it is - that in life, there are often two rails going along side by side at the same time. One side joy, the other side sadness or stress or anxiety. And they often coincide with each other. We've had a beautiful Fall, as we often do in Iowa. I've maxed out my SD cards with favorite images captured, we've made lifelong memories watching our boy play football, we've marveled at Brandon's early school success and we've had so many fun and cherishable moments. But. But... I'm away from home again this week - for the third time in a month because when it rains, it pours - at least that's how my travel schedule seems to go. Fall, my beloved season is coming to an end. And we said a very hard and unexpected goodbye to a friend this past week - a father, husband, friend and police officer that was taken from this world far too soon. We watched our friend bury her husband, watched rows and rows of police officers give a final salute and were there to bare witness as the "Last call for Officer Liddle" rang out from a hundred police scanners at once in a country-side cemetary. It was a difficult few days. We've faced hard things. We've been incredibly busy. We've traveled two rails.
And so these images are important because though life is generally happy, it's also hard sometimes. And sometimes we just need to jump in a leaf pile to make sense of the world again. And sometimes listening to your 2nd grader giggle during a chapter of Captain Underpants melts the stress away. Sometimes watching your stubborn and picky five year old discover that he really does like caramel on his apples is the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning. Sometimes picking out the most vivid red leaves on a Sunday afternoon is good for the soul. Sometimes 72-degree park dates in late October recharge your batteries better than even a good night's sleep could. Sometimes baking cookies is more important that catching up on the laundry.
Last images of these beautiful months. Pretty soon, we'll be building snowmen...
Thank you, beautiful Iowa Autumn, for all your good. And for helping us travel the rails.