A Perfect Fall Day

Weather doesn’t always take heed when calendars announce the first day of fall. This year, however, their synchronization was exceptional. Remnants of summer have predictably returned at times, but September 22nd was a lovely start of a new season.

Three pm that afternoon was the official beginning, but I can’t say whether autumn came precisely then or not. I didn’t really notice its arrival until Jane and I took a late afternoon walk. Around seven, just after Lester Holt reminded us to, “Please take care of yourselves and each other,” we headed down Coley Crossing toward the railroad tracks.

The air was not the same as the evening before. A slight breeze provided a comfortable coolness. And September’s sky was more stunning than I recalled summer having offered.

It’s hard to say which season has the best clouds, but I’m inclined to vote for fall. Summer is too hot, humid, and gnatty to spend time gazing upward. Winter clouds can be delightful but sometimes the grays dull the blues too severely. Spring is nice but emerging blooms and chirping birds compete with the clouds for our attention. So, fall is arguably the best time for clouds. 

As we began our walk the sky was filled with seventy shades of blue and a thousand intriguing characters. There were the ever-present poodles, who flourish in fluffy cumulus formations. I guess the soft clouds compliment their curly hair and fondness for pillowy beds. Over the years I’ve occasionally spotted a German shepherd on patrol, but poodles are the most populous of the canines.   

A wrinkled old man with a craggy nose and big belly was on his back napping and appeared to be snoring. Thankfully, he was a safe distance from the monstrous alligator sunning on the creek bank. I was glad the man didn’t need a dog for protection. You never see poodles getting out of police cars.

Road Runner, the cartoon character, had assumed a memorable pose. He was in a racing stance with a fake arrow stuck through his neck. His grin indicated he was about to say, “beep beep,” and scamper away. Why he was running toward a dolphin is a mystery I don’t expect to solve.

On the road back home, the view was even more magnificent. Jane tried to capture it in a photo, but there’s no way to condense splendor of that scale. As the fading sun dipped out of sight, a couple of cloud groupings were brightly illuminated. We saw the evidence of light although its source was hidden.

Near the end of our walk, the serene radiance of a sun just below the horizon testified to that same distant glow. An alluring blend of red, orange, and blue highlighted the westward edge of a darkening canvas. There’s only one word I can think of to describe such beauty. Holy.

That first night of fall stayed on course as temperatures dropped into the fifties, a place they had not ventured in a while. A delightfully cool daybreak was greeted by clear skies and sunshine, further affirming autumn’s arrival. And a few leaves were wearing brighter colors as they slowly descended from their summer perches.

Lord willing, there will be more walks with enchanting scenes and the same lovely company. But this walk is one I’ll remember for a while. Headlines in the evening news were quite troubling that day. Sadly, that seems likely to continue. The first sunset of fall, however, helped remind me of who’s in control.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” That scripture has been expounded on by people more capable than me. But those clouds at dusk, aglow because of a hidden sun, caused me to think about that verse in a refreshing manner.

Although the sun was out of sight, I knew it was the source of light. That seems worth pondering during times which are increasingly challenging. Rather than being discouraged by all the wrong we see, faith allows us to embrace what is right even when it can’t be seen. Faith allows us to know God will prevail on His terms and time, not on yours or mine.

My confidence in the future had needed a boost and still does at times. But it’s better than in the summer past. The air felt much different on our walk down Coley Crossing. It was a perfect fall day.

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7 Responses to A Perfect Fall Day

  1. Judy says:

    You have such a way with words; this was absolutely beautiful!


  2. Don Giles says:

    Great article on Faith. I like this quote by C.S. Lewis
    “You can’t know, you can only believe – or not.“


  3. Michael Chason says:

    A soft pearl of a column. Painted a warm picture.

    Sent from Mail for Windows


  4. vernon twitty says:

    As a good southern pastor would be prone to say, “Aman and Aman!”


  5. George says:

    Neil, you are a Master with words. Your descriptions of clouds, nature and natural beauty are outstanding. Thanks for the positive spin that you put on daily scenes and activities.


  6. Ellen Hunsucker says:

    Very uplifting article and we all need relief from bad news! I agree with you about the lighting in the fall-it’s absolutely beautiful! The boys and I saw a pink, fluffy cloud the other afternoon. They weren’t as enthusiastic about it as I was, though.


  7. Wanda Hawke says:

    Good Sunday Morning Neil. Just getting to my emails and wanted to Thank you for
    this profound message . Between your inspiring story and my new Brenda Gantt I received this week as started my day out to perfection. Spending my time with a cup of coffee, my morning devotional and prayer time awakens me to all that God is preparing me for on the precious most holy day of life. I love the clouds and all the illustrations that God creates or us everyday. It is truly amazing and takes our minds off the everyday worries by yielding and trusting God for eternal gain. Have a very blessed day.


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