Friday, November 03, 2006

Aching in Autumn

When I was a child my favorite season of the year was autumn. Though the season itself doesn’t officially begin until the end of September, autumn really begins on the first day of school. For many students, this is a day of dread and doom. To them it means the end of summer and the start of another nine months of learning. For me the first day of school was a day of delight. I was always excited about learning. I couldn’t wait to hear the stories of what my friends had did during the summer. I was eager to discover the new things that would present themselves to the absorption of my young mind. Occasionally, we would have a new student in our class and that was exciting, too, because I liked meeting people and making new friends.

Of course, school wasn’t the only reason that autumn used to be my favorite season. Besides the new school year and new friends, there were also all the other changes the season brought. There was a drop in the humidity and heat of those terrible St. Louis summer days. The leaves on the trees changed colors and made the Earth a more vivid place before the white pasting of winter covered the land. There were hayrides and bonfires filled with hot dogs and marshmallows and silly harmless practical jokes. Later there came pumpkins and a night of dressing up going door to door begging for candy. Back then, autumn was a time of new beginnings.

Years later the season that I once loved so much and was my favorite season of the year has become my least favorite. I still love watching the leaves change color and the cooler weather is often appreciated. I still see beauty around me and as I look and observe these changes around me, I thank God for the creation He has made and given to us. However, though I still have my innocence and am often naïve, those things have been tempered by wisdom and slightly by experience. The season that I once looked forward to for all the wonderful things it brought has been tainted to me by pain, suffering, heartache, and loneliness. I see joy and try to take it in, but instead find I am inhaling fumes of longing tinted with a twinge of despair.

I have no idea of when this change in my favorite season took place. It is true that I’ve experienced great heartache during autumn the past few years, but I had started disliking the season years before that. I’ve searched and wrestled with why I feel this way and I cannot find an answer. I first discovered this dislike about six years ago, but it might have happened a few years before that. I don’t really know. What I do know is that now as the weather cools and the leaves change color, there is also an aching in my heart that comes with it.

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