Saturday, September 26, 2015

Things Aren't Quite As They Seem

Sometimes things are just not what they seem. Recently I held the hand of a small child as we walked across a parking lot. The sun was bright and the day hot and our shadows short. I pointed out to my little friend his shadow and showed him how to step on it. Shadows are intriguing, but not quite like the real thing; my shadow is either tall and thin or short and chunky. My shadow doesn't represent my exact build, it is a caricature of me. Of course if it duplicated me exactly, I would choose the tall thin shadow laid out before me in the evening light.

Our Stapelia plant is blooming now. Up close this blossom might make you think you are looking at a starfish, but it is a succulent in full bloom. This unique blossom smells like rotting meat and attracts flies. It isn't quite what it seems at first glance or sniff.

Even a name doesn't always represent to whom we belong. Three generations in a family I know share the same last name of Rutherford*. A long time ago an unwed divorcee discovered she was pregnant. Being more concerned with her image than the truth, her parent's insisted she give the child the last name of her ex-husband. In a moment of curious questioning generations later the truth was revealed. Imagine how misconstrued the genealogy search would be without this little known fact: the family bloodline isn't tied to the current last name.

Wednesday was the first day of Autumn. Wikipedia states, “Before the 16th century, harvest was the term usually used to refer to the season, as it is common in other West Germanic languages to this day (cf. Dutch herfst, German Herbst and Scots hairst).” But as the towns became more populated and farming began to diminish “harvest” became Fall. Harvesting isn't obsolete; fewer people are farming in order to raise the vast amounts of produce we consume without a thought from whence it came.

I digress. Here we are in the first days of Autumn; the calendar says so. We are in between the hot days of summer and the cooler, or much colder depending on where you live, days of winter. As often is the case, nothing about the weather indicates it is Autumn. It is hot and muggy; people grumble and are wearing down from the long summer filled over the top with steamy weather. It may say Autumn on our calendars and Starbucks' may boast the return of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte to their menu, but the sweaters are still packed away and the thought of a scarf around my neck makes me sweat. This is what I mean when I say, “Things are not as they seem.”

The first cool days of fall I feel more alive; I love the crisp air. So what do I do in the meantime? I join others in frustrated conversations about the hot days; I collect fall photos on Pinterest to fuel my hope, even though I do live in an area where Autumn is quite subtle; and I read poems and verses trumpeting the glorious beauty and cozy delights of Autumn. Though I believe there is beauty in all the seasons God created these lines best represent how I feel about the fall of the year:

Delicious autumn!

My very soul is wedded to it,

and if I were a bird

I would fly about the earth

seeking successive autumns.”

– George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)

Next time I might just write about the gloriously infused Autumn days of my childhood. Until then I would love to hear what you love about Autumn.

P. S. Did you catch my big hint at something else that is not quite as it seems?

*Name has been changed to protect the family whose story I have taken the liberty to tell.

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