Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Leaves are Falling...

Wow...the last time I posted was a brief two years ago while in Vancouver, en route  to Asia. On that Amazing Race-like trip, with 14 crowded flights over 14 hectic days, after traveling through Korea and all over China, I ended up in the humidity of Vietnam, twitching and heaving in my Army Hotel bed, sicker than I have ever been in my life, and wondering if I would ever again leave the familiar surroundings of the United States of America...or even make it back there! (I think it was the jack fruit I ate on the street.)

The previous post was two years before that, after returning from an adventure-filled missions trip with Santiam students to Ukraine, with a little added side vacation to the Basque Country. What a wonderful experience that was! (You can read about that in a previous post!)

Two posts in almost 3.5 years! Impressive, huh? I have to do better than that. I enjoy writing. I recently made a goal to post regularly. Something needs to change, so here we go!

Look carefully at the photo above and to the left. That's "my forest." (Actually, it belongs to Oregon State University, but I like to pretend it's mine, since it is one of my most favorite places in the whole wide world.) Notice the lack of leaves and the misty fog hanging in the trees.

If you were up there today, which I was, you would see something quite different, something that looks like the photo below and to the right. You might not see Winnie, my quirky black and white dog, but you would notice a distinct difference in your surroundings. It's the same trail. The photo above is a little further up the trail, but it's the same forest. The same trail. The same amazingly beautiful surroundings.

 It's a different season. The top photo was taken last winter. The one to the right was taken today...early autumn.

I think back to the fact that I've only posted twice in 3.5 years. Seasons. Oh my, how rapidly the seasons have changed in the last 3.5 years! There are so many fantastic experiences that have enriched my life and the life of my family as the seasons of the last 3.5 years have evaporated! Of course, there have been some rough spots; those times when you wonder why something had to happen.

It sounds so cliche' to encourage you to seize the day. You know, the old "Carpe Diem" thing? It sounds cliche'; but, that is exactly what I want to encourage you to do. Grab the day! Go for the gusto! Be where you are!

Your children are going to grow up. Loved ones will pass and leave us. We'll move to new homes, and leave old neighborhoods. New jobs will come. Old jobs will end. Friends will move. Relationships will change.

Do today. I mean really do today. Look into your children's eyes. Really, really look. See your wife. Don't let the people around you become invisible to you and get all blurry because of today's urgent tasks.

I've started telling my students that I see them. I don't mean that I am watching to see if they do something wrong. I mean I SEE them. They are not invisible to me. I notice them.

You can never miss the changing of the seasons in our amazing Oregon; don't miss the seasons of your life. It's really easy to miss our time...to let it slide on by. Notice today. Notice those around you.

The leaves are falling.