Monday, November 26, 2007

Back To Reality Again

I hope that everyone had a pleasant and happy Thanksgiving weekend. I feel like I have been gone a very long time but now that I am back the time seems to have gone by quickly. I began my Thanksgiving break way back on the afternoon of November 15th. I left work early that day because my oldest son, Mike, who is also Chloe's father, was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. He had been feeling poorly most of the week and it finally got serious enough to require hospital treatment. Besides the seriousness of the illness, and the annoyance of being in the hospital, it also prevented him, his wife, and Chloe from joining my wife and I on a trip to the mountains. At this time Mike is out of the hospital and on the road to recovery. He managed to be well enough to share in a wonderful Thanksgiving meal prepared by my sister in law, Judy. The torch of my mother in law's culinary skills has been passed to Judy. She's quite the cook and our meal was a feast. Still full of turkey and dressing from Thanksgiving, I managed to see the movie "Beowulf" on Friday afternoon and also take in a blues concert by a fellow named Joe Bonamassa on Friday night. Another highlight of the week was my other son, Nick, being home from the seminary for short vacation. Last night we sent him back to Indianapolis in the cold and the rain. There's still a few weeks left in the semester. He will be home again in a few weeks.

Most of last summer was so hot, and we went so long without a decent rain, it appeared that this season might be the autumn that wasn't. However, on the day I left work early to check on my son in the hospital, I took a slightly different route from work. I drove through the Highlands, along Grinstead Drive to Lexington Road, and down Cannons Lane along the park. While driving I was suddenly and unexpectedly overwhelmed with the beauty of the leaves on all the trees. It was as though the burnt oranges and dull browns has been transformed overnight. I was experiencing the peak of the fall colors and they were as good as it gets in this part of the country. Of course, nothing I've seen compares to New England in the fall. It got even better as I drove the next day to the Great Smoky Mountains in east Tennessee. All the vibrant colors that millions go to see in mid October were present during my trip. The natural cycle has been delayed a month, much to my gain and pleasure. I was there four days and three nights. The weather was perfect and the sun was shining. People were sparse and we had no trouble getting into restaurants or shops. The town of Gatlinburg was all decorated for Christmas and all the lights and decorations were beautiful. The whole trip was relaxing and stress free. I did miss Chloe's excitement but there will be other trips with her.

Now the autumn beauty of last week is over. Most of the leaves have been stripped from the trees by the wind and the rains. We are now experiencing the bleak landscape of late autumn/early winter. The cold is starting to appear more frequently. However, Christmas is only weeks away and with it are dreams of snow that can quickly and quietly convert the barrenness into a winter wonderland. A few weeks ago I anticipated autumn's beauty. Now I am eager for the beauty of winter and snow.

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