I always struggle with this time of year, when summer winds down and fall appears like an invited guest at your party. You’d love to ask him to leave, but instead endure to avoid a ruckus. But then, before you know it, he keeps showing up at other gatherings, horning in on your circle. Soon, like it or not, your social reality has changed and the intruder is here to stay!
Indeed, I’ve noticed that the temperature highs have noticeably dropped the past several days. But just a week or so ago, the temps were a scorching 95 degrees while I helped lead a rafting trip with Lifelines on the Upper Colorado River! Most of the rest of the days were in the 80s. Yet, I noticed the nightly lows kept creeping lower and lower.
When Elizabeth and I returned to our house in Sioux Falls this past weekend, several red maple leaves carpeted our lawn forebodingly. Elizabeth thought they were pretty, but to me this unwelcome reminder was as unsightly as dog turd piles left on the boulevard by negligent neighbors.
Bottom line is I wish I could make this summer last longer. If I had the time and means, maybe I’d even chase it around the globe like the old surfing movie Endless Summer, where they do just that.
I’m having a hard time letting summer 2017 go because it was so refreshing and restorative for Elizabeth and I. We returned to normal life by attending a summer mission in Crested Butte, re-engaging with Lifelines ministry along with seeing many of our friends in Colorado. We also enjoyed lots of outdoor adventure, for work and for play. I’ve been preoccupied with living and not writing, hence my absence from this blog.
The past several months certainly have been restful. When I was tempted to be anxious, God brought me a fitting verse: “Be at rest once more, oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to you (Psalm 116:7).”
The Psalm is about a king delivered from death, and while I’m not exactly royalty, there is a lot in the text that I resonate with. I understand what it is like to have life threatened and then to see the Lord return it so swiftly and powerfully. As verses 8 and 9 say:
“For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”
Even more than just a passing sentiment, the passage has served as a powerful reminder to be at rest. And so, I’ve tried to live that and let this summer be carefree. Though, a scan at the end of August certainly threatened my restful vibe. In the days leading up to it, we were suddenly on edge again. But true to what the Lord has been doing, the scan was again clear and our rest resumed. I will still have these scans every four months or so for the foreseeable future, but I’m hoping eventually even they will taper off. Indeed, my health continues to improve as my strength and energy return and grow. Going to Colorado was a good test, as lugging 100-pound rafts in 90-degree heat tests anyone’s stamina.
Another reason we were in Colorado was so I could take a recertification exam with the American Mountain Guide Association, allowing me to lead rock climbing trips again (more on this in a future post). We also got to see some friends from Salt Lake City over my birthday and take our daughter on her first camping adventure (this, too, deserves a post).
For now, we are grateful to be back in Sioux Falls, though I’m still wrestling with the season change.
I like fall, but it’s what’s around the corner that concerns me. Winter is always a tough transition, with all the short days and cold nights. Even though backcountry skiing is my favorite sport I still struggle. And let me tell you—the days seem much colder and grayer the farther one lives from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado!
Fortunately, I have an ace up my sleeve this year. When we were in Colorado Springs, I bought a downhill ski set up for my two-year-old daughter. They brought out the smallest set up they could find—the 60 cm skis come up to my knees and the boots are about as big as pint glasses. I am stoked, and so is my daughter. She immediately sat down on them and said, “Pippa wants to surf!” Close enough. We now live just 10 minutes from a ski area that is a perfect place for kids to learn! Should be a fun daddy-daughter adventure.
When it comes down to it, I guess there are things I’m looking forward to with the change of season. But this was a good summer—an epic one, in fact. And I think it’s only right to ponder and savor that before moving ahead. Here’s to summer 2017 🙂