Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fall, and Things That, um, Fall

There is this out front …


And there is this out back …



That results in this by the garage …

After breakfast with a friend this morning I came home and wrote up some notes I had taken at a community meeting earlier this week, forwarding them to interested parties.  Then I sat down to finish reading the morning paper, when I heard the commotion outside.
The neighbor’s kids were playing and the guys' lawnmowers and leaf blowers were making a loud ruckus.  I admit, this might be one of the last good days of the fall; temperatures are to be in the 50’s and sunny, but I had planned to wait until early afternoon to begin my outdoor chores, but the cries outside beckoned me.
The maple trees in the yard had dropped their leaves, and even the pear trees front and back had dropped a bit of their leaves.  In my mind, this was the day to do a major leaf pickup, and then get out the bags of Christmas lights, test them for maybe 10 hours to find the burned out bulbs, and then put them up today also.  I haven’t had the outside lights up in a few years.  As mom’s health got worse, I justified not putting up the lights outside by saying I was spending more time with her.  And the last couple of years, I didn’t even put up the inside tree.  But this year will be different!!
I got up off the living room couch and opened the garage door, but before it had even rolled up I saw four little sets of feet coming into view.  “Popsicle!” they yelled.  And so that became my first chore, a fun one.  I chatted with the kids, and then with the guys for a while.  One of my neighbors is moving, taking little Annabelle and Ainsley with him, and I inquired the why’s and where’s of his move.  When they moved in three years ago, Annabelle was a new arrival, and Ainsley came about a year and a half later.  So I guess I wasn’t surprised that their move is for more room, and for soon-to-be ????, presently aged -5 months.  Fortunately they are only moving a few miles away, in the same township, and so I’ll still see them on occasion. 
I asked Josh if he charged my new neighbors-to-be a premium for having good neighbors like us.  He said, “Well, I honestly did mention it.  And maybe that’s why they bid $5,000 over our asking price,” he said with a smile.  Huh.  And I thought it was Allstate which had the good neighbor premium.  I wished Josh and Megan and his family well; good neighbors ARE a premium, but all things in life move on.  They will be missed.
I broke off the conversation then, and we guys all got back to work.  What I thought of as being an hour or two of labor turned into over three hours, and nine bags of leaves.  It was work.  Finished, I put away the lawn and leaf tools and sat on the front porch for a few minutes of rest.  It had clouded up.  The temperature had dropped some.  The wind was blowing more.  Hmmmm.  I stood up and looked at the bags of leaves sitting in front of the garage door.
Son of a gun, I thought.  Those leaf bags are right under the gutters from which I was going to hang my Christmas lights.  Imagine that!  Now, I DO believe that God gives us signs and hints of His will, and that we have to be VERRRY careful to watch for them.  Could this be a hint that I shouldn’t put up the Christmas lights today?  : - )
I pondered the likelihood for a few minutes, as I rested for a few minutes more.  I WAS tired.  And God DOES know that whether I put up outside lights or not, I WILL celebrate His birthday.  And certainly the neighbors remember all those years where I didn’t take DOWN the lights I had put up until July --- don’t all such things average out? 
A gust of wind blew a falling leaf into my face.  There, that does it.  God made the leaves that fall, I was reminded, but He didn’t make Christmas lights.  Surely putting the leaves first and foremost is a Godly thing to do.  And so I went back into the house and, sitting at the kitchen table, I admired the clean back yard.  Yes, this was a good day.
Maybe there’ll still be some warm days in the next couple of weeks, and one on which I have the energy to get out the ladder and test all those old strands of lights.   Maybe.
Perhaps I’ll wait for God to tell me which day that is.  

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