However, due to the chaos continuing at home with a furnace/air conditioner installation and having no hot water since our water heater had to be taken out during the installation, I braved the roads to pick up Chinese takeout for dinner.
Upon walking back to the van and viewing the ByPass from the parking lot, I decided to take the back roads home. Which includes driving familiar near our "old neighborhood" in town and eventually one of the streets becomes a county road.
This route adds more time to the drive but as I left traffic and neighborhoods for the occasional house and cornfields, I could feel every muscle relaxing. It had been a very hectic week and I could feel the stress of the busy days. There was a time I juggled many hats but living a slower life has been the norm these past few years. I was not used to life at warp speed as I had the past week.
There is now a stop light on the road where I turn toward home. Every time I drive there, I think that I need to show it to Stephanie when she visits. We both always throught there should be a stop light there. The girl that was her duet singing partner at church in high school lived on the corner.
September can be beautiful but it carries enough of the remnants of summer that one can find it frustrating, especially when heat returns after a little taste of cooler weather. It is a little like snow in March or April.
However, nature in October is a favorite in many ways. The days are progressively cooler, flannel sheets have been put on the bed, an extra blanket is ready for cold nights, and we are beginning to enjoy multiple hot beverages throughout the day.
That week where September meets October is the beginning of the magical season for me. Magic as in Narnia magic, God breathed magic. This is the season where I can understand why forest living people in European countries believe in fairies. Especially on foggy mornings.
Once I turned toward home, it appeared like a different world than that of the parking lot next to the ByPass with multiple stores and restaurants all packed with a multitude of humanity. It never ceases to amaze me that the scene can change so much within ten or fifteen minutes.
This was the natural world of farm houses, barns, and feed corn drying in the fields. One of the fields had growing a crop with a lot of vines, perhaps pumpkins or other squash were hiding under the leaves? I love this time of year when the fields are thick with that mellow shade of maize.
Nature is already slowing down and between now and when the trees will change from the chartreuse shades of fading leaves to explode in multiple colors before returning to the soil... God is teaching us that we must slow down and appreciate this beauty, too.
There are some weeks I have lost my peace due to spending way too much time looking at bad news, even in media I can trust. This week was different. This past week contained both expected and unexpected disruptions of my normal routines. There was little time to catch my breath before another chaotic day came about.
I am learning that the need to live a slower existence is not wrong but it is actually a God-given blessing. Our society today does not keep a real Sabbath day with sports events and various meetings scheduled on Sundays. Smart phones keep us connected 24/7 to the world around us and I have watched family members spend hours on the phone for "work", even on vacation.
We used to have natural seasons of rest that were ordained by nature and the changing times of sunrise and sunset. Even our busy farmers could look forward to some days of rest after the harvest had been brought in. Farm wives could rest when the food was all preserved in one way or another, ready for their table until the following harvest seasons.
I do appreciate grocery stores, now more than ever. How we all took their abundance for granted in previous years. I appreciate being able to pick up Chinese takeout when cooking in my own kitchen would be very difficult. I love being able to talk to family 1,000 miles away by message or cell phone. There is much to be thankful for with modern technology.
However, and we all are guilty of this... are we neglecting the peace He has provided in nature? I can assure you that a simple drive on country roads brought a peace I have not felt in a week. I can no longer walk beloved trails but I can watch the forest from my front porch. Why don't I do it more often? Soon the leaves will turn colors and fall to the ground and my neighbor's red barn will come back in view... as it has every November.
The world is in chaos but some things remain the same.
No matter where we live in the world, we are experiencing some change of season. Perhaps not as dramatic as the Octobers in my part of the world, or the blossoming spring for our friends south of the equator. But wherever we live, there is usually an opportunity to find nature, even if it is a city park.
Let us spend less time viewing what terrible things are happening in the world and instead decide to spend more time in talking to God, reading His Word and wonderful books, and viewing what I have heard called "The Fifth Gospel"... nature as He created it.
Wars and rumors of wars, famine and pandemics, they all will still be there but we do not need to keep our eyes on those things. Not when there is a change of seasons happening outside our own windows. Keep doing what God has given you wisdom to do and then trust Him for the rest.
I plan to take my own advice this week because honestly, I do not want to experience more stress like I did last week. It will most likely come again because this is a fallen world but the Word tells us to be at peace as much as it is in our control. I plan to take that advice this week.
Photo: It was time to bring out my lovely Mrs. Beaver tea cozy made by my friend and "blog daughter", Heather. She designed it when I told her I would love a tea cozy just like Mrs. Beaver had in her home in Narnia. Heather's nature journaling website can be found... here.