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Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Falling for Autumn

Watching the national news on television at the end of August, images of autumn began to show up on the screen and I get all misty-eyed and emotional.  I’ve only seen true fall colors once, as I flew into Cleveland, Ohio to be with with a loved one at the Cleveland Clinic.  Once I landed, I spent the remainder of my time walking hospital corridors – so, no crisp air and crunching leaves underfoot for me.  As a long time resident Southern California, I love autumn the way some women love George Clooney, as a visual fantasy from afar with no hope of ever being together.


I am a native Californian through and through (my first 16 years in NoCal and the last 31 in SoCal) and as such, I have no true references for seasons the way many of the other states do.  In Northern California, you learn to gauge the 365 days of a year by the how fast or slow the fog rolls in.  Southern Californians only half-joke that the four seasons here consist of Flood, Mud, Fire and Earthquake.  Right now, we’re knee deep in our fire watch mode.


You know how kids across the country start making their Christmas wish lists right after Thanksgiving?  My kids make an evacuation list of what they want taken out of the house in the event they have to leave at a moments notice.  Where we live, fire is a very real threat, having once come half a block behind our house and half a block down the hill in front of our house.  Even when fire has been further away (what they tell me was a safe 2.5 miles away), the 35 mph twisting hot winds of the Santa Anas have driven me from my home in fear, knowing that flying embers could travel to nearby palm trees (which I believe are simply nature’s ridiculously ugly tiki torches) and threaten my neighborhood.


There are fires burning now in the Southland area and we shut our windows and doors to block the ashes and smell of smoke from entering our world.  Yet, it enters our hearts as we watch the news coverage of fire crews assembling in the staging areas.  Hundreds and sometimes thousands of men and women willingly go towards the flames that I am so afraid of.  Who does that, other than superheroes, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego?  The Channel 5 News turns my den into a place of impromptu worship as I drop to my knees and ask for protection for those that fight a foe so evil, that it’s the vision most people have of everlasting hell.


Winter may be a time of reflection and prayer for many, when the nights are long and the cold drives people indoors, but for me August to November is spent holding vigil for the brave firefighters who fight our battles for us, protecting our lives, homes and loved ones, at the risk of losing their own.


On behalf of all of our nation’s firefighters, this autumn it is my heartfelt wish that the only blazing colors to be seen this season would be the magnificent burgundies, reds and gold of America’s autumn foliage.  [Well, that and maybe a little pink in the cheeks of George Clooney from across the room.]

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