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by Christine Baker

It’s that time of the year again, a time most people excitedly call sweater weather, all things pumpkin spice, corn maize and apple pickin’. That is, except here in the south. Here we just call it what it really is, extended summer time. Of course that’s not always a bad thing, right? I mean, cold weather is really overrated and here in the south we tend to do things at a different pace than the rest of the U.S. Anyway. So much so that even the seasons follow our leading, like a fine wine, we take our time!

I was telling my son something on the phone the other day, the one who’s in the Air Force and stationed in Virginia and surrounded with the most beautiful fall colors his Louisiana born and bred eyes have ever seen. I said, “There’s a hint of Fall in the air over here in Cenla.” I heard a chuckle on the other end of the phone. Of course I said this because he was bragging about already having nighttime temps in the 40’s, hemming and hawing about all the beautiful colors and already needing a winter coat. “Well,” I said, “who needs all that outerwear, cozy fireplaces and dazzling displays of color anyway. Here in the south, we’re like fine wine, son. We take our time.”

As I lingered on the back porch after our call ended and gazed at the squirrels nesting for acorns, there it was, right before my eyes, a real-life hint at change. I spotted one lonely branch of leaves changing colors among many green ones. Now mind you, my one acre plot alone has 30 trees and I haven’t counted my neighbor’s, but I think it’s safe to say he has the same or nearly the same amount on his property. With this many trees surrounding us, you would think that our eyeballs would burn with an array of all the fall colors of the world. But you would be wrong because here in the South, we’re like fine wine. We take our time.

The older I get, it seems the less I know and understand about life except this one thing: change is inevitable, even when it is slow to come. Even as I write this today, change is coming to my driveway. I’m in contact with at least three different car salesmen because my twelve year old American made van with over 200,000 miles is on its last leg. This is the van that carried my three boys to soccer, Boy Scouts and church. This is the van that carried boys that turned to teens that turned to men. It’s seen its fair share of the southern portion of the United States and many backroads and small towns of Louisiana, too. Yet, like it or not, change is here. A new vehicle is in my future. One of the salesmen wanted to rush me into buying. You can imagine his surprise when I said, “Don’t rush me. Buying a new vehicle is like fine wine. One must take their time.”

The world is changing, too. Always has, always will. Nothing stays the same forever. Except for one, the Creator of all things good. I guess that’s why as I age, I’m drawn to Him even more than ever before. He is my constant in an ever-changing world. I long to know Him, hear His voice and read His words. When life spins out-of-control, as it sometimes does, His hands steady me. When I stumble and fall, He picks me up. When the winds of change howl and the leaves begin to turn colors and drop, and newness rattles my little world, I can almost hear His whisper, “Don’t rush daughter. A life well-lived is like fine wine. It takes time.”

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