This week, the beauty of fall colors began to give way to leaves freed from the trees to fly and land under our feet. The branches of the trees are getting closer and closer to bare. Temperature bounce all over the thermometer, so you must pay attention to the forecast, or you may find yourself sweating or shivering depending on the day. Crispy brown, crinkled leaves are everywhere you look, and the wind tosses them from one end of the yard to the other and back again. Justin was trying to herd the leaves off the parking lot at the Conference Center before the weekend group arrived. He’d get the grassy areas clear, and the wind would pick up, sending a whole different group of leaves into the spot he just cleaned. Then it sent his pile across the parking lot in a new direction.
You can find yourself sinking into piles of leaves, if you aren’t careful. One leaf on its on is not so tricky, but hundreds and thousands can be very deceptive. It’s like thousands of banana peals lying in wait for you, and then the wind shifts to place them in a whole new configuration. Who has really ever slipped on a banana peal? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it happen. But, I have nearly slipped on multiple occasions this week while walking down a hill littered by leaves. It is amazing the sheer volume of leaves that get dropped in just a 3 week period. This will be a whole different world, because the trees let go of their leaves.
One afternoon, Dian answered the phone to find Travis on the other end. He requested some back-up at the Oxley Cabin in the form of a shovel or hoe. Travis was at the cabin, winterizing it, before the first freeze, when he noticed a snake wrapped around the pole of the spiral staircase. Based on the initial phone conversation, we were under the impression that Travis was trapped at Oxley, and the snake in question was originally a copperhead. We envisioned a snake just outside the door, coiled up, ready to strike if he opened the door. By the time they came back, it looked to be a black rat snake, who, due to the cool temperatures, was barely moving. You draw your own conclusions, but a venomous copperhead, 7 feet long, 6 inches in diameter, which 2 inch fangs, striking at the window is how I like it envision it.
This week, we also had a milestone day, especially for couples planning weddings and movie releases. We, after 100 years of waiting, reached 11/11/11. As a teenager, somewhere I picked up the practice of making a wish everytime I saw 11:11 on a clock. So, imagine the type of wish mojo you might have if you made a wish at 11:11 on 11/11/11. It is akin to making a wish at 12:34 when we make it to 1/2/34. It’s fun to make note of these occurrences, but there’s nothing really pre-ordained about this those numbers on the calendar. We did, after all, come up with the calendar, and, even though it’s based on Jesus’ birth, most scholars agree, that we were probably off by a little. And then, for a long time, different places started the year at different times. Some started at Christmas, some at Easter, so on and so on, so you have different areas in different years, depending on what time it was.
In the end, the numbers help us keep up with things, but we did decide when to start counting. For every system we use to count there are millions and billions of other ways to count. How many times the earth goes around the sun, how times the leaves have fallen from the trees, how many times the ducks have returned to the river beside Lakeshore, how many times that large, bright yellow moon has risen up over the water, or how many times we have again woken, our eyes opening, heart beating, taking life-giving air into our lungs.
This weekend we have the United Methodist Women, Alpha Sigma Phi from Murray State, and the Shanklin Family visiting us. This week, may God show you many fantastic things.