Today is the first day of autumn. I always anticipate autumn for its rare beauties and as a change from a long, hot, humid summer. Summer temperatures began mid-May this year, and I look forward to cooler weather soon.
A Walk on a Morning at the End of Summer.
One morning after rain during the night, I took an umbrella,which I didn’t use, and went for a walk. There was a slight drizzle at times and there was a small but constant breeze. It was in the ’60’s. Even though there was 100% humidity, the change in temperature was welcomed.
It was a quiet walk. There were no other pedestrians, but I exchanged waves with several drivers. I noticed late summer, early fall flowers. Petunias, with their distinct, not-quite-sweet smell, were heavy on a few porches. Marigolds were here and there in borders, pots, and planters. Chrysanthemums are beginning to bloom.
The world was wet. It was overcast. Dogwood trees have turned, and plants in ditches are blooming yellow or showing dull yellow leaves.
I imagined one street on a winter day, bare trees, wet street, forty degrees. Those days, come!
The sward is for sale! The sward is an open, gently sloping area, a large corner lot that has become a favorite place to pass on the Home-by-the-Highway Walk. Sometimes I think of it, redundantly, as the grassy sword. I was startled to see the FOR SALE sign. If I had $30,000 I would buy it. It would be a good place to go at night and star gaze. On snowy days it would be a good place for sledding. If I were a child again, it would be a good place to run barefoot. On all days it has been a great rest to the eyes and spirit, a great open green space neatly mowed. Will it now be a place for a house and a pole light?
As I enter to worship, there is silence. Worshipers are kneeling or seated, bowed in prayer. Most worshipers are alone, though there are a few couples. On either side of the altar are burning candles. At their bases are set three chrysanthemums, two small yellow plants place in front of a larger brown-red one.
I genuflect, kneel, make the sign of the cross, and pray. I send praises and offer petitions. I am aware that the space around me is large. The room is beautiful. There is silence. I sit and continue to meditation, clearing my mind.
The Mass begins and progresses in its usual dignified and well-paced way, leading to the particular celebration of the Eucharist. There are formality and dignity in the readings and in the prayers.
The passing of peace is done quietly, not with social chatter.
The short homily is profound. “Jesus never said, ‘Worship me.’ He said, ‘Follow me.'” is one idea that will remain with me.
In receiving communion, I unite myself with God and with fellow Christians, past and present. I am lifted out of myself, and at the end of Mass, I leave blessed and refreshed for a good day.