Did you know that “fall” is a very poor translation for Autumn?  We say “fall” because the leaves seem to be “falling” from the trees, but I learned that they aren’t actually falling.  It’s not the wind. It’s not the cold. They aren’t dying and just passively falling off of the branches at all, but they are actively being PUSHED off of the branches by the trees themselves.  According to Peter Raven, president of the Missouri Botanical Garden and a renowned botanist, the wind doesn’t gently pull leaves off trees. Trees are more proactive than that. They throw their leaves off. Instead of calling this season “The Fall,” if trees could talk they’d call this the “Get Off Me” season.

Autumn is such a nostalgic season with the cooler weather coming and the colors and smells conjuring up all kinds of memories in my head.  There are memories in the cooler air of football games and backyard fire pits and pulling out my favorite sweaters and long walks in the woods.  I love the changing leaves in Autumn! Living in the Ozarks was amazing because the leaves turn red and yellow and orange and every color in between and Autumn in the Rockies was snow-capped mountains and the most vibrant yellow I’ve ever seen.  Autumn is the “warm” colors in the color wheel mixed with the chilly evenings that make for the best combination of fuzzies in my heart.

Autumn is the harvest time; a hopeful time of preparation for the winter ahead.  We can hope for the future because we worked hard and we are prepared.

In Chinese culture, Autumn is connected with the emotions of courage and sadness.  It is also connected with the direction west which symbolizes the direction of dreams and visions. I think this is where I find myself this year.  I feel like I am in a season of sadness sustained by amazing personal courage. But the thing I love about the Chinese view of Autumn and how it relates to where I am personally is the symbolism of HOPE (dreams and visions). 

I love that I can feel sad and yet courageous and that in these two emotions, I still have the hope of the future.  Yes, I have hope in Christ and in The Battle ultimately being won and in the beauty of eternity, but I also have the hope of tomorrow and the healing that each new day brings. I’m coming out of my own personal winter and I am probably in my “Spring” season, but I like feeling like I am in Autumn because of the colors and smells and coziness of warm sweaters and the hope I have like the Chinese.  

I love Autumn (and I love calling it Fall even if the leaves aren’t actually falling).  I love to see the leaves change colors and I love to pull the sleeves of my sweaters over my hands as I walk through the woods.

I hope that you, too, find yourself in a hopeful season even if it seems like your leaves are “falling” off.

Part of the Kanakuk Alumni program is to serve you.  So, I’m here if you need anything—that is what FAMILY is for!

Jamie Jo Braner, Director of Alumni Engagement