Forcing Fall

One of the things I miss most about living in the Southeast are its four distinct seasons. Here in San Diego we live in one prolonged springish summer. I know, I know. I shouldn’t complain about this, as this is why so many people are drawn to our city (Thanks, by the way for being the cause of sky-high property values, said our small but exorbitantly priced home). I also have a theory that sprummer is why people are so skinny and happy out here. They don’t feel the need to put on a few pounds to keep warm in winter. I like to honor tradition and put on my winter pounds, whether I will be hibernating or not, a tradition I plan to continue as long as I live in SoCal.

cotton seed family

All joking aside, we have been forcing Fall as a family. I have been wearing jeans daily in 85 to 90 degree heat, just because Fall is jean weather and I refuse to conform. We went to an awesome pumpkin patch with some family friends a few weeks back. I wanted to stop and get a Pumpkin Spice Latte on the way, but it was so hot that we were all downing Gatorade so we wouldn’t become dehydrated. The Pumpkin Patch had a huge mountain of cotton seed, to create the effect of sledding in snow. As if it wasn’t enough that we were having to pretend Fall, they needed to rub in that we also have to pretend Winter out here! But we forgave them because surfing and sledding down a cotton-seed mountain is an hysterically fun experience. We had a blast, but it felt like we had played a soccer tournament in the dessert when we left. We were sunburnt and slightly heat-stroked, but we had our pumpkins.

ty with pumpkineli in fall

We live in a culture that likes to manufacture weather, that likes to pretend to control seasons. Even if you live in Minnesota and have to crawl through underground tunnels to avoid frost-bite in winter, it is possible for you to remain tan all winter long. Coronado Island in San Diego actually brings in snow machines one magical day in December and creates a Winter Wonderland. No one need mention that this Snowy Wonderland sits in the middle of a green lawn that overlooks the beach where people are actually surfing and sun-bathing. As much as we would like to control the seasons, we cannot.

phin in snow

God created the seasons, after all. They are His doing, and they mirror so much of our spiritual lives and needs.

Today, as I was driving home from dropping the boys off at school, a dark, foreboding cloud eclipsed the all-too-blue sky, and I nearly started crying. Crying in relief and thankfulness. It seems odd, I know. But in a land with too much sun, too much summer, you grow to appreciate the clouds, the rain, the bitter cold.

As Phin and I sat outside, chilly, letting rain drops fall on us, I had to stop and thank God that He won’t give me, won’t give any of us, a spiritual San Diego. He won’t let us live in constant prosperity, constant sunny skies, even if we do our best to force it. Too much sun is incredibly dangerous, not to mention monotonous. Our souls crave the whole circuit of the seasons of the soul as much as I crave four distinct seasons. And our gracious God will always give us what we need, even if it’s not what we want.

Thank you, Father, that your hand ushers in every single season of every single soul. You perfectly season us with your grace.


The birds are alert now
From slaps of the breeze,
They’re Keeping in time
With The sway of the trees.

I’d be a fool not to join them
In welcoming the rain.
For what good is a song
If it is only the refrain?

Prolonged prosperity,
Like too much sun,
Can harden the soul,
And must be undone.

A sudden change in weather
Awakes us from the lull,
The clouds share their contents,
The dry ground drinks it full.

I’d be a fool not to join it
In soaking up the rain.
For what good is a song
If it is only the refrain?

It takes the full circuit,
All seasons of the soul,
To make man fully alive,
To keep a human whole.

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