Essays on Faith: The season that awakens my soul

Growing up, I always knew it was going to be a good day when I heard my mother say the words, “God’s in His Heaven; all’s right with the world.” I wasn’t sure what the words meant then — but I knew all I needed to know: Days were much better when she said them.

And now, while I know that Robert Browning’s poem, “Pippa’s Song,” from which those words came, is about spring, I enjoy using them to describe how I feel about the arrival of September. When the oppressive heat of summer begins to subside and cooler weather brings relief, I can’t help but feel that truly, “God’s in His Heaven and all is right with the world!”

Although our afternoon temperatures are still hovering in the eighties and nineties, the calendar reflects that summer is winding down. The days are shrinking like wool in hot water, and it’s not too soon to start thinking of the many changes ahead.

A person who had great influence on my life once said to me, “Don’t while away the hours aimlessly for, too soon, you’ll understand that, though the days are long, the years are short.” As a child, I let those words roll off me like beads of rain without giving any thought to their significance; all I wanted was for the important days like Christmas and my birthday and the last day of school to hurry up and come — but all the good stuff seemed to take forever!

However, getting older has changed my perception of time and now I know how true that statement is. The years disappear like smoke in the wind and I find myself wondering where they went. I can hardly believe we’ve already said goodbye to the eighth month of this year and moved on to the ninth, one of my favorites.

Ah, September! You are the doorway to the season that awakens my soul.

Even as you signal the end of summer fun, I welcome you and the changes you bring. Visible changes remind me that all is evolving. As autumn begins and temperatures cool, there is also a shift within me — a sense of fresh energy and excitement. Seeing God’s transformational handiwork in nature triggers a deepening awareness of my potential for positive change and I find opportunities to grow closer to God and deeper in spiritual understanding.

The first obvious change is the light. Suddenly, a soft golden glow replaces the harsh, hot, eyestraining yellow of midsummer. As evenings grow shorter and cooler, children are nowhere to be seen nor heard; the beginning of the school year enforces early baths and bedtime, thus there is a silence — a lovely silence!

Combine these golden days with the refreshing silence and you have September days that seem almost sacred. I miss the children, yet, I welcome you.

Flower gardens wane; vegetable gardens flaunt their bounty; it’s harvest time. The sun is lower in the sky; days that were stifling only a couple of weeks ago are suddenly bearable, though still sunny and warm under a delightful cerulean sky. Temperatures are dropping several degrees at night, changing the air from warm to uncomfortably cool. The mournful cries of tree crickets and katydids grow louder each night in their quest for one last mating before summer’s end. Fireflies seem to have disappeared.

Cooler nights, intermingled with warmer ones, bless us with late summer evenings that exude the scent of autumn — and an air of expectancy.

Many folks complain. “Oh, dear,” they say, “summer’s over. That means winter is right around the corner; I hate winter!” Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here about “being in the moment.” Many wonderful things are missed by worrying about what is coming later instead of enjoying what is now.

I love September and the beauty that follows. Here in West Virginia, it is more beautiful than anything else I can imagine.

Almost Heaven!

After a long, busy summer, it is a restful time.

I often visit a small man-made lake in my hometown where I sit on a bench beside the water and watch ducks glide gracefully across the reflection of a clear blue sky adorned with puffy white clouds. As I savor this moment in time, my mind is free of worry and stress and I feel very close to God.

Here, in this place of ethereal beauty, I tend to withdraw into my own world, blocking out everything except the splendor of the season, my thoughts and my relationship with God. It is a time for reflecting on what was, and is, and is to be.

It is a time for enjoying the beauty of this very moment!

Peggy Toney Horton lives in Nitro.

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Funerals for Sunday, December 8, 2019

Board, Dencil - 3 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Booher, Hughes - 3 p.m., Maranatha Fellowship, St. Albans.

Carpenter, Homer - 2 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Collins, Jacob - 2 p.m., Morris Funeral Home, Cowen.

Donahue-Moubray, Kathleen - 3 p.m., Haven of Rest Mausoleum, Red House.

Estes, Peggy - 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Friel, Ruth - 1 p.m., Lantz Funeral Home, Buckeye.

Johnson, Marvin - 1 p.m., High Lawn Mausoleum, Oak Hill.

Linville, Vada - 2 p.m., Orchard Hills Memory Gardens, Yawkey.

Pettit, Michele - 3:30 p.m., Faith Baptist Church, Spencer.

Prue, Margaret - 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Scott, Robert - 3 p.m., Capital High School, Charleston.

Smith, Wanda - 3 p.m., Billy Hunt Cemetery, Kettle Road.

Sneed, Virginia - 2 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.