Autumn (a scavenger hunt + tag)

I’ve considered skipping this tag for a couple reasons:

  1. I might be doing it so I can look more professional and social amidst other bloggers.
  2. I fear this will not be well-written or interesting to those who read it.
  3. I worry this won’t be “deep”, as I want to make it.
  4. why
  5. is
  6. writing
  7. this
  8. blog
  9. so
  10. weird

But now I’m doing it. So here we are. And it ended up perty honest anyway. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

(In full sincerity: Thank You, Jesus.)

This post is meant to be a bit of a scavenger hunt, frens.

It’s low-key supposed to be a (very late) “Hello September”/”Goodbye September”/”Fall-ish” blog tag, started by Julia from Lit Aflame. I was tagged by the lovely Rosalie Valentine of Penprints. Instead of just answering the questions, though, I decided to be over-complicated and talk about transition while answering each question given to me. You gotta search for my answers.

hello-september-blog-tag.jpg

Here are the rules of the tag:

~Please copy the questions below, answer them, and then write out your new questions (or you can even copy these) for the people you nominate below your answered questions.

~Please nominate at least three bloggers, but try to avoid ones that you know have already been tagged.

~Lastly, include these guidelines in your post, and use the tag picture!

Here are the questions/prompts Rosalie gave those she tagged:

  1. Favorite fall time memory?
  2. Picture fall as a character and write something from his/her pov!
  3. Give one tip or challenge for this fall.
  4. What books are you reading/wanting to read this fall?
  5. Fall isn’t fall without…
  6. Of all the fall colors, which is your favorite and why?
  7. If you could dress up as anything for Halloween, who/what would you be? Why?
  8. What are ten words that remind you of fall (e.g. – crisp, golden, leaves)?
  9. Create a myth why about leaves change color and fall.
  10. What are you harvesting in your life right now (i.e. – what projects are coming to fruition, what things are you learning, etc.)?

Let’s begin.


The fallen leaves are plastered to a rain-darkened sidewalk. Autumn has sapped up the last of the chlorophyll Summer produced, and the trees are storing away food for Winter’s incoming sabbath, thus Autumn tosses his empty chlorophyll candy wrappers across the floor like a laidback teenager. We’re not terribly unalike him. A bunch of shivering, careless, goofy teenagers.

The leaves’ sepia color are further highlighted by the orange glow of streetlights, and then the lights dim as wet boots clomp over the varying shapes, sizes and colors and our shadows dance through the cold evening. Our boots stroll off the public bus, and into the cold air like a wolf pack. Some of us are leaders, some loners, all lovers of music and a good laugh together. We step over brown and yellow leaves, and we cross the street, passing a graveyard with All Saints’ Day candles and flowers for sale outside, and Autumn follows close behind us, reddening our faces and chapping our lips by way of his cheeky kisses in the nippy air. He surrounds us so much with his chilly air one might think him cold and unfriendly, but we can admit he nudges us to a warmer place, where we might sit and chat awhile over hot and spiced drinks. All that will be soon, after we sing together in choir on a Tuesday evening and prepare for our Christmas concert in a few months.

last concert blog version.jpg
from one of my last choir concerts, the autumn before I moved to America

I pull my hands into my jacket sleeves, admire the open, crisp blue of the fall evening. It always seems more vibrant, be it clear daylight or past sunset, entering nighttime. It reminds me of the depth of the sky and contrasts beautifully against the gold and crimson leaves and things shining from rain and bonfire-colored streetlamps.

Autumn is making me smile to myself, even if I respond little or not often vocally to his changing colors.

Autumn has been my favorite season for a long time (though I’ll use “fall” when I talk about it in person, I’ve always liked the word “autumn” more). For more than just its cozy nature, I’ve loved Autumn’s fresh air by the way it fills and refreshes my lungs, making me eager to move and do things . It gets me excited for the holidays, but more so for the gatherings they entail. Autumn always meant the beginning of the new school year and choir rehearsals after a long summer break. Growing up overseas in Autumn, for me, meant Thanksgiving with lots of American expats invited over to our house, who became family over my mom’s homemade (and deeply longed for) cranberry sauce and our tiny oven holding a giant Slovak farm turkey. Because originally, although having Thanksgiving dinner with family is lovely, the holiday first began when foreigners and strangers helped one another and sat down for a feast of union.

chinese thanksgiving .jpg
from two years ago, when we had Thanksgiving stateside with a Chinese family (hence turkey dumplings alongside roast turkey)

Autumn makes me so particularly nostalgic. I don’t celebrate Halloween, but if I were to dress up as someone, it’d be a favorite childhood character, like Mary Poppins, because I love how she’s wise and gets the job done, yet knows what’s important for both children and adults: connection and joy. I look forward to greeting trick-or-treaters at my door for the first time, and seeing smiling, childish faces connect for a moment with me over a Milkyway. A child’s smile and wonder is the spoonful of sugar for me when life’s medicine is hard to take, and God more than once reminds me of the simplicity and freedom found in their creative, silly, deeply loving nature. I long to have a heart like that as I transition into adulthood: filled with childlike wonder at the providing God I worship, and ready to connect with the people around me at deep and simple levels. I find that wonder, that nostalgic joy, and that desire for connection in Autumn often for some reason.

 

I recently came to understand why this sense of nostalgia in Autumn is so strong. My mom pointed out to me as we drove towards the Midwest with a fully packed car, that almost every single time we’ve moved, it’s been between the months of August and October (with the exception of moving back to the US mid-December, to enter a long season of stillness and waiting).

letter linda.jpg
my tiny painting of the view out our new windows for a letter to a friend one morning

 

We’ve always transitioned during the natural season of transition and change, and I don’t think that is an accident. We’ve always entered the moving as strangers or foreigners to a new place in the time that traditionally, you spend with your family. My bond with my family tightens in the season, and my family learns graciousness with one another in the hardest bits. One small grace was my Mom purchasing a book for me as a treat, just before moving, so I might have something to pause with in the rare stillness of autumn change and moving. Though a stranger to many, I sit with a book now and then, or a podcast, or my stories, and I find myself trying to immerse in a world or a new idea or an old, familiar one. I find myself in autumn, trying to paint myself red with passion for art and writing, orange as an “American” girl dosed in pumpkin spice, or yellow as the color of sunlight I try to find when moving isn’t so easy. I try finding rhythm, regularity, and identity amid the new place, to the point I find nostalgia in those times where I was seeking connections and familiarity. 

fall festival blog.jpg

a fun group picture from last year’s fall festival at my church down south

I cover myself in autumnal fig leaves because when I transition, I’m not home yet, and so I’m looking around for one. And then I find home again in Jesus and I’m stripped of the leaves and given Him as a large, warm blanket to cover me on the days I cry “Maranatha.”

I am not, however, unthankful for what Autumn has brought me so many times.

I have traveled through Autumn because I was called to by God. I went, even though it’s hard. It is a call worth following.

In this autumnal season of transition, I’m exploring the old roots, discovering and uncovering roots I hadn’t been aware of before or had tucked away. At harvest, I’m in the middle of God’s loving rebukes, pulling up more than sweet potatoes and carrots (though many of those good things come). I’m pulling up dead things and things that need washing. I’m pulling up healing, even when it feels like death. I will enter Winter, where things do die…but I will be covered in white. God reminded me of this on an unexpectedly snowy Sunday in October, looking out at the blanketed fields. All He whispered was:

“We can start again.”

first snow blog.jpg

 

And I will live again in Spring, and there will be something completely new in place that I can’t picture now. But it will not be evil. No evil comes from God. Only God above is capable of shaping death into something healthy, free, and alive.

Go forth and explore what roots are being revealed in your crisp, cold, dry season of transition.

What are you transitioning into right now? We’re always in a state of growth and motion, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

 


Even if you don’t do the tag, take time to answer that last question in the comments.

And feel free to comment below what answers you managed to find in this lil’ scavenger-hunt-turned-journal-entry. 🙂

Here are my questions:

  1. What are you transitioning through as the season transitions?
  2. What is the theme song to your autumn?
  3. How do you fend off the cold of autumn?
  4. What fall foods (warm drinks not included!) are your favorite? Why?
  5. Write a mini poem (it can be free verse if that’s not your thing) about your feelings for fall (negative or positive!)
  6. Why do you think so many people love fall?
  7. What is one childhood fall memory that sticks out to you? Why?
  8. If you have one, share a picture of you as a kid in your Halloween costume. If not, draw it from memory!
  9. Where do you like to enjoy/hide from autumn most? (e.g., coffeeshop, bedroom, porch…etc.)
  10. Favorite fall clothing item? Why?

And here are the tagged:


Extra Encouragement

  • the book of James (Just reading through it is giving me fresh perspective on discipline and change not being tools of shame or hurt, but healing and growth)
  • “Come Be Free” by Jenny and Tyler (Not only is their new album incredible, but it is deeply encouraging. This song describes a peace and freedom I pray for.)
  • Take a walk and pray as you look around you. Observe how God takes care of the world around you. Ask Him about it.
  • Some art and words by Rukmini Poddar (I don’t always agree with her, but I love this painting she posted on her instagram, a couple days before I made my move to the Midwest)

RukminiPoddar-autumn.jpg

 

Short encouragement section, I know, but it’s okay. There is a lot of grace over me this week, even as I get frustrated with what I cannot control, and I’m thankful this post came to exist at a time of fatigue and strong emotions. I didn’t like the original draft, but came back to it weeks later and found it settling into place much more.

Here’s to entering a new season: online college, hopefully learning to drive soon, finally being over a cold, and meeting new people.

Stay warm and growing, autumnal frens,

~Heidi

 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. A. Plett says:

    Heidi! I just read this now and it was so beautiful, I couldn’t slow down to do the scavenger hunt! 😀 I’ll go back and re-read it now. It was really cool how you started painting a picture of Slovakia, even at the bus and Martinsky cintorin I was like Hold up here, that’s here! And your thoughts on transition are really nicely formulated. This is why it always takes me so long to read to get to your posts, is because I know they will be deep and require some chewing, if you know what I mean. Thank you for this beautiful ode to Autumn and tribute to Slovakia 😉 ‘Twas a blessing read. Anna

    A Million and One Thoughts schrieb am Fr., 19. Okt. 2018, 00:20:

    > Heidi Melo posted: “I’ve considered skipping this tag for a couple > reasons: I might be doing it so I can look more professional and social > amidst other bloggers. I fear this will not be well-written or interesting > to those who read it. I worry this won’t be “deep”, as I ” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heidi Melo says:

      Oh Anna! Thank you so much for your comment! I’m so encouraged in my writing because of your words. Yes, I was writing about taking the bus down to Fusion. Man, I miss it and all of you! ❤

      Like

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