Ok, fine. Fall can happen. I have bid adieu to every last remnant of summer and am now thoroughly ensconced in acceptance, and I can prove it to you: I have just pulled an applesauce cake out of the oven, made with this year’s mushy Gala apples (I am not really sure there is another kind of Gala. Sorry — years of tree fruit farming has made me an apple snob). The house smells of freshly baked cake, of cinnamon and brown sugar, there are candles on the kitchen window sill, and I have to put on socks under my Birkenstocks. If that isn’t embracing autumn, then I give up.
This isn’t Saturday, so I am curbing the instinct to wax poetic about this whole applesauce cake situation happening on my kitchen counter (but if you’re into that sort of thing, come on by for the Butter and Rest feature on Saturday. What makes it a “feature” when it looks exactly like every other post on this site? Because I said so, that’s why). All I want to point out, as I attempt not to nibble away at the golden, crusty edges of this incarnation of all things autumn, is that I am ready to stop moping about the loss of watermelons and peaches, of school breaks and hours to spend baking.
I actually do love fall. There is an odd sort of stillness mingled with activity that captivates me. It is the slow death, the world holding its breath because it can feel the crawl into the tomb, knows the trees will soon be bare of the glory they have worn throughout their fruitful months — but, my, they are going out with a bang. They can do that because they know death will be swallowed up in life — spring will conquer the darkness. They are waiting for resurrection. I find myself wondering if there is a moment like this before our own deaths, one last burst of joy or laughter or sheer brightness, one last battle cry before death wins… and then resurrection triumphs over death, finally, permanently, never to grab hold of us again. I wonder what autumn is like in glory — what would an autumn with no death be like?
But I digress.
I’ve decided that walking is for the birds. Or rather, for the little old ladies of my neighborhood who are officially made of stronger stuff than I am and can brave the traffic without blinking. Constant adjustment, that seems to be the name of the game for me right now, and so I have returned to something that I used to love — I have taken up yoga again.
Before you bombard me with all the reasons why it is the devil’s exercise (ha, as if I have ever been bombarded with comments. Little wishful thinking happening there, eh? It is absolutely a goal of mine, though — to ever say something so true that I acquire haters), yep. It has lousy pagan roots. Guess what — so does body building. Or cycling. Or cake. Or anything else we get our filthy sinner hands on. To the pure, all things are pure, and so I thank God for movements that make my spine happy and my tummy strong and that are incredibly hilariously fun to do with a Quail by my side. You should look up the Wheel pose and then join me in laughing my head off trying to do it as well as the 8 year old (can’t.) — it was worth the price of admission.
I have been thoroughly enjoying it, and there is something about sweating so peacefully that I end each practice surprised that I don’t suddenly look like the instructor. I certainly feel that strong and elegant and about 6 inches taller. This has led me to the theory that it is probably, really, all about the outfits. I mean, isn’t everything?
Years ago, during one of the happiest, and I might say most stable, seasons of my life, I actually went to a yoga studio that had just opened up. When I imagine fall, I imagine being in that studio with the huge 2 story floor to ceiling windows, light wood floors, crown molding, feeling strong and being in awe of the bright red falling leaves outside that window. I can transport myself back to those moments with ease. They were beautiful. I loved the instructor. She was young, a former swimmer, and the way she led the movements was almost aggressively athletic, which appealed to me, but also, despite all the yoga gibberish of zen this and peaceful thought, she also routinely came to class ranting about a road rage incident on the way to the studio in which she was not the victim, if you get my drift. It brought a welcome dose of realism and total depravity to the high-falluting fluff of yoga speak.
This was my first exposure to yoga swag, and I think possibly it could be the key to my actually gaining those extra 6 inches and being wildly successful at yoga.
I’ve been doing it in sweats.
I probably need to go shopping for yoga pants, right? It is the only thing that makes sense. And now, if the buttons today behave, I shall bless your day with a song.
But while I may be attempting to justify foolhardy shopping with part of my brain (and I am sadly very good at justifying absolute nonsense), the other half of my brain is somber and self-examining the ways that I could be doing this in my walk with Christ.
Has God called you into a new season? New heights of difficulty, disease, loneliness, service? There is a temptation to declare that you are simply not equipped for this! I do not have the necessary gear, Lord, to keep being kind while I am being lied about! I cannot school anymore children! And don’t even talk to me about more faithful diaper changes — that requires a hazmat suit and I don’t see You giving me one.
He is your armor. You do not need more than Him. You have what you need to die to yourself today, you have His Word as a weapon, offensive and defensive. He has never failed to equip His people for what He has called them to do — if you are not equipped for the task at hand, could it be that He is not the One calling you to it? That you stepped in and wrote your own to-do list? You will burn out fast if your life is filled with your priorities and not His. The day is ahead of you, the work awaits, and His grace is sufficient, His power is made perfect in weakness.
It is time to get dressed.