It's October now. The cold winds have come - both in Minnesota and New Hampshire.
Molly and I are "safe home" in our 800 sq ft apartment. The heat comes on. Our evening meal is prepared. Our cars are under shelter. We are under shelter.
But, our dear daughter is in New Hampshire. "It's so different," she says. "The air is chilled. We have a fire in the fireplace each night. All is quiet - on the lake. In the rivers. Only one beaver swims the river. And no people about. The boats are in. The docks are up. All so still."
This year our children will "close the camp." They will arrange the last things. Not just trapping the last mice, and locking the last door. But arranging all to be "put away." The paddle boards of summer fun. The canoe to the garage for winter - preceded by the racing shell. The dock, too, must find its resting place. Pipes need to be emptied, and heat turned off.
The people will all be gone. No children here. No parents. No ever-present grandparents. The "Ossipee mode" shivers. People bundle up and prepare to leave for other places.
Faithful friends who have served our family for generations, are visitors. Our builder, from his wheelchair, after a new knee and multiple surgeries, and two years in hospital, says, in dismay, they say I have only six months to live. A tragic injustice. Kristen goes. And shares stories. And gives thanks. And prays.
A friend who walks the lonely road daily will meet her for lunch.
Two friends, hanging on, reach out from their home one lake away.
Two precious children, just married, will come for a week-end. Highlight of their unexpected, enduring September.
Like Molly and me, the cold helps you turn in upon yourselves. At the dinner table, around the fireplace. Mercifully, there's church, and seeing a few friends. They drive here and there. The roadsides start to flame, with the stunning colors of maples, the yellowing birches, the deep reds of oaks. And, close to the ground, bright sumac.
Time to go. The soul's good-bye. So much we learn about ourselves, and life, and the precious meaning of family, and faith, and the heavenly home that awaits.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES