Fall brings cooler temperatures, gorgeous color, and tons of memories. The cooler temperature drops the pervasive summer humidity, which makes the skies clearer for star-gazing. Caleb and I spent many fall evenings looking at various objects through the telescope. The other day, the chill in the air with wispy clouds, reminded me of trying to see eclipses and comets with him. He always said, “Fastest way to get clouds is to pull out the telescope.”
Fall now brings a nostalgic sadness. We camped and backpacked with the scouts for about nine years. Many trips were in the fall and they were my favorite. Fall is calmer without the hustle of spring sports, heat of summer, or winter cold. Sitting around a campfire in the cool evening breeze has me longing for the conversations Caleb and I would have in the woods. “If we’re camping, it’s raining” was another quip of his. Yes, it rained often and our campfire crew would dash for cover.
Fall brings holidays. The word holiday comes from Old English, hāligdæg, meaning “holy day”. I have always considered Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving as personal “high holy days” celebrating God and family. Family was a large component of the holidays. Growing up, most of the time we lived over a thousand miles away from family, but we traveled each Christmas. I loved visiting my extended family. When I married, I continued the tradition for twenty-two years spending one holiday with my family, one with Donna’s. Then Caleb was in high school preparing for college. We felt it important we had a time with him and make traditions at home. We had open invitations for any extended family to visit, but it remained the four of us each holiday. We made it special and enjoyed every minute.
Fall brings family. Fall reminders of these times with family and Caleb; reminders that I cannot make plans for a holiday at home because it is too painful. Reminders that I have to find a place to spend the holiday, which does not have memories of him haunting me. Friends have blessed us by taking us into their homes and sharing their holiday with us. Friends have become a refuge and family.