I am a spring-into-summer person. I love the awakening of the land; the buds on the trees and bushes, the early daffodils and tulips, the birds and the bees awakening from a winter lethargy, and the sun rising higher in the sky and giving more warmth. I am not a fan of the arrival of autumn, even though I think autumn itself is a very beautiful season. I simply don’t like the fact that it heralds the coming winter and the cooler temperatures and the presence of grey days.
Our local streets have filled with more traffic than there has been for the past couple of months. Yes, school is back in session, the beginning of another scholastic year. I have no little ones at home any more, so the only way I am aware of the school year is through the wax and wane of traffic volume and the occasional comment from teacher friends as they gear up or gear down for the start or close of the school year.
However, as all the children go back to school and the traffic somehow seems to double on the roads, I get that first hint that summer is over. I fight the arrival of autumn with everything in me. I have friends who talk about not wearing, or accessorizing with, white after the first of September. Why ever not? The sun is usually still as hot and bright as it was on thirty one August. So, rebellious as ever, I wear white until it gets grey and rainy or just too cold to seem appropriate anymore.
It seems like the first of September, or at least the Labor Day weekend, heralds the beginning of “we can’t do that any more” season. Despite the act that we are blessed with extended summer weather here in Florida, people seem to stop doing everything overnight. No more picnics and bar-b-q’s, no more going to the beach, no more back yard parties, and everyone pulls their boat out of the water.
The two things that Floridians do hang onto, however, are shorts and flip-flops. Year round, those two articles seem to have become the unofficial state symbol of the State of Florida. Even on a cold and rainy day, which fortunately we get relatively few of, there are those die-hard southern guys and gals who staunchly wear these two items as proudly as if they were the State flag.
But back to autumn. The Fall season always brings a feeling of melancholy to my heart and soul. I know that all the seasons are God-given and I appreciate them as such. Perhaps in the bigger scheme of things the yearly passing of the seasons reminds me of the seasons of my life. Although I have enjoyed them all, some more than others, I am well aware that I am in my own personal autumn. This means that winter is just around the corner.
I am well prepared for this, at least as well prepared as any human can be. Because of the Christian faith values that I hold and adhere to, I do not fear the winter years because I know they will culminate in a new life. It’s just that I still have a lot of living that I’d like to do and many more things that I want to accomplish. But, like everyone else on the planet, my time will come when it’s meant to and I have little control over that.
So in the meantime, I’ll wear white until it’s too cold, I’ll go to the beach as often as possible after Labor Day and, although I don’t own a boat, I’ll imagine floating out on the sea with my hand trailing in warm waters. I also have my beloved lanai at home and as usual will spend as much time as possible out there doing my writing, reading, or just enjoying the incredible gifts of nature that surround me.
What joy it was to get out to the beach at St. Augustine today. Of course, we made our usual stop at Zhanra’s for a scrummy breakfast. If you haven’t yet tried their Sunday Brunch it’s time to treat yourself. An incredible buffet of cooked-to-order omelet anyway you want it, quiche, scrambled eggs (plain or dressed up), apple wood smoked sausages and bacon, chorizo soup or gumbo or cheese grits. (I don’t like grits, but these are to die for!!) Then there are fresh biscuits and sausage gravy, and home-made fries. And that’s just the cooked section. Turn the corner of the counter and there’s a whole array of bagels, Danish pastries, fresh fruit, muffins and fresh garden green salad.
Your waiter takes your drink order and also asks if you would like pancakes or French Toast to order. I highly recommend the French Toast. I’m sure the pancakes are wonderful too but I so enjoy their French Toast that I just can’t not have it. This has to be the best Sunday Brunch in town and it’s a deal at $9.99 plus your drink.
So with satisfied stomachs we headed to the beach. It had rained some while we were at breakfast but by the time we headed out it had cleared up and was just a perfect mix of cloud cover and sun. At the beach it was also wonderfully breezy and my soul sang out as the seagulls screamed. Lorelei was already there busily drawing a labyrinth in the sand. After hugs all around I readied my stick and, carefully following Lorelei’s paper design, I drew another labyrinth next to hers.
There is such a focused feeling of peace as I draw a labyrinth. Perhaps it is because I start the design with the central cross section and lay down my words of intention immediately. Today’s words were Hope, Love, Balance and Harmony. Then the gentle circles unwind as I walk and draw the design. As soon as I had completed it, I walked my first meditation. Some people walk the labyrinth quickly. I prefer a slow measured step.
As I walk, I think of what or/and who I want to take into the center and pray about/for. As these thoughts form, other words of intention surface and I stop and inscribe them inside the pathways I have created. Today some of those words were, Delight, Laughter, Compassion, Spirit, Creator, Live, Serenity, Light, Energy, and Enchanted. As I stepped into the center the word Joy came to mind and so, alongside a heart design, I inscribed that word. To complete the center I inscribed the names of those I wanted to enfold within the blessings of the labyrinth.
Shortly after this we noticed an unusual sun-dog form in the sky. Normally sun-dogs carry tinges of rose and yellow. This one was a very luminescent blue-green, and the clouds were swirled around it almost in circles. There were lots of people on the beach today and many of them joined us to walk the labyrinths. Lorelei was very creative today and drew a total of five, which with mine made six. There was a special energy in the labyrinths today as many children danced and ran their way around the circles, some of them asking accompanying parents what the words said as they passed them on their way.
All too soon it was time to head home. We embraced Lorelei and thanked her for her time and energy. Part of me wanted to remain on the beach, that same part that sometimes wants to hop on a plane and just leave. So within my heart I said a centering prayer and returned to the reality of the present moment. I thanked God for my time at the ocean and for good friends and headed home.