Saturday, October 22, 2011

Searching For Joy In The Midst Of Melancholy

In my last post, I shared that I was working on a writing assignment for my church's writer's group. I really struggled in putting it together since the timing coincided with our wedding anniversary and I was in the throws of a new wave of grief. I wanted my composition to be positive and uplifting, painting a picture of this colorful season with words, but I found it very difficult to do so and to be honest at the same time.  The end result feels disconnected to me. Perhaps this is what happens when a writer just goes through the motions. I compromised by sandwiching the sights and sounds of a picturesque fall season with the bookends of my genuine endeavor to appreciate this most beautiful time of year.
                                                               Autumn Melancholy

Autumn at Muddy Run
Autumn, a much loved and favorite season for so many, stirs mixed emotions inside of me every year and even more so since my sweetheart no longer shares my life. Even though I am surrounded by so much beauty, I have to be intentional to search for the joys of the season. There is so much to be appreciated, especially being so blessed to live in the beautiful rolling hills of rural, southeastern Pennsylvania. With a prominent population of deciduous trees, I am treated to a feast of colorful progression that includes all the warm colors of the rainbow.

Thoughts of autumn engage my senses as I think about my favorite apple festival that takes place on the first Saturday in October, each year in Darlington, Md. Vendors line the small town’s streets with canopies, tents and farm wagons bulging with baskets of apples of every color and variety and heavy laden tables filled with pies and dumplings. The air is filled with the intoxicating fragrance of cinnamon,  caramel sauce and kettle corn. Everywhere you look is an explosion of color with lavender asters and mums of white, yellow, purple, rusty orange and my 
personal favorite, burgundy, providing a sea of color for the throng of festival goers to wade through as they pick out the perfect ones to take home . Many playful scarecrows are created that day as families have fun stuffing plaid flannels shirts and old worn out blue jeans to make whimsical characters to decorate their front porches along with their pumpkins, hay bales and colorful Indian corn.

How to Make a Scarecrow BodythumbnailThe fall season beckons campers to the outdoors to enjoy the last of the favorable weather. They are wooed by the joys of crackling campfires, cooking outside and hikes on rugged trails, strewn with noisy, crispy leaves. I can almost smell the bacon and camp-stove coffee when I close my eyes.

Now is the season when we will see deer more frequently, since the monstrous combines have recently harvested the cornfields, exposing their secret hiding places. Of course, this also means we will notice camo-clad hunters as they enter and exit wooded areas at dusk and dawn in pursuit of meat for their tables.

Scott Shephard Photogra

Autumn conjures thoughts of honking, south bound, flocks of geese in v-formation under a perfect deep blue canopy with billowy, cotton-like white clouds. I think of long lines of yellow school buses, football games, homecoming dances and chilly days that encourage me to dig out my favorite, warm, comfy sweaters and cozy blankets and throws. In my imagination I can smell the fragrance of crayons, earthy leaves, wood smoke and simmering pots of soup. 
Autumn sunset view from my front porch
Often, my favorite part of an autumn day is a gorgeous sunset when the Creator of all things bright and beautiful does His most amazing artistry, painting the sky with passion and indescribable beauty in shades of breathtaking pink, coral and purple. It is my desire to be diligent in savoring all that this season has to offer, in order to overcome the melancholy that wants to rob me of the joy and beauty of this most colorful season. I can only accomplish that commitment by depending on the daily strength that the Lord provides for me...Grace For Today.

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. Psalm 65:8 



  1. Renee, I really like that song, but then I like most all of the songs by Laura Story! And, your photos are beautiful. I must say you have described the Darlington Apple Festival much better than it appears to me with all those crowds of people. I like your description much better.

  2. Hi Birdie. Thanks for visiting here and for your kind words!I'm glad you like the picture I painted of the Darlington Apple Festival better than the one you have in your mind. It must be a kinda hard to witness your sleepy little town transformed into a sea of people and swarm of activity every early October. I always enjoy it whenever I attend!

  3. " Dearest Renee, what a beautiful descriptive writer you are. Lovely prose. Through your words I experience the market scenes and the colors, excitement, smells and all of the fun that is part of the Fall celebration. But my favorite phrase in this piece is: "I have to be intentional to search for the joys of the season. There is so much to be appreciated,"
    When our hearts are in shadowy places, we MUST be intentional in our search for joy. We can miss it so easily. It is so fleeting. Thank you for sharing such beautiful word pictures. It is joy shared so then, it is joy increased. T.

  4. Wow! Your words paint such beautiful pictures in my mind. I could see all of the colors, smell the wonderful odors and scents you described, and see everything that you talked about as I strolled along with you through autumn. It certainly didn't sound disconnected to me at all.

    I understand how autumn is bittersweet for you because it is for me as well.


  5. Tonya and Candy, You both have blessed me on this autumn day! Thank you for your kind words and your sweet encouragement! It means so much!

    Candy, I know you fully understand the bittersweet nature of autumn as you anticipate your own "anniversary" coming up soon. I hope and pray that you are able to take in all the beauty of creation as you travel, knowing the Lord will be with you as He always is!
    Much love to you both! ~R~

  6. Oh, how did I miss this one, Renee'? It's beautiful. Thank you again. You are an extremely gifted writer. Tess

  7. Tess, I appreciate your kind words! Thank you for being a cheerleader in my life!