It’s the early hours of the morning here in Baildon, West Yorkshire and I’m sitting in bed listening to the wind driving the rain against the bedroom window. I used to think we had weather in London but here it is magnified, more intense, more defined, just more of it.

When I look across the garden at the trees on the bank in Midgeley Woods I can see the uppermost leaves starting to change colour yet the garden is still fecund and full of life. In the south it would be looking tired and ready to be put to bed for the year, not because the weather is any colder but because it would have given up the fight against the heat and drought, the artificial watering to keep it alive. Here spring then summer come late but the garden continues well into the autumn with plants coming into flower for the second time or flowering first time round. Okay, it’s been particularly mild for September but I have noticed this in other years since I have been here. 

And when will the first frosts arrive? Well not for a few days at least according to the five day forecast. Only then will I change my containers from the summer to the winter bedding display. The greenhouse is registering temperatures in the upper twenties and not dropping below ten at night. The pelargoniums are still in full flower looking fresh and green if a bit top heavy and this is a problem with the autumn winds that have arrived today. 

I will just have to get my head around the way the seasons start and finish later being content to not rush the winter in until it is ready. But it’s October in a few days and the nights are already longer than the days. It won’t be long before the earth will be iron hard with frost.  

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness – I embrace you.


Feeling left out

It’s funny how old hurts from years ago can suddenly creep up on you and you experience part of the old pain you felt then. I’ve just been reading the Proverbs 31 devotional for today about how the author had no friends in high school and didn’t attend the end of year prom because she had no one to go with. She had given her life to Christ and stopped attending and doing activities that were at odds with her new found faith and one by one her old friends fell by the wayside.

I remember, when I was around 13 or 14, it was the year of the school skiing trip. All my friends went on the trip but we were a poor family and my going was dismissed out of hand. I wonder now if there had been some discussion and explanation of the situation I would have coped better but I remember being very bitter to the extent that I resented my mum for being a stay at home mum as I reasoned, if she worked as my friends’ mothers did, I would have been able to go. The trip was planned for the second week of the Christmas school holiday so when I went back after the break it was all my friends could talk about. Instead of being happy for them and listening to the stories of their adventures, I chose to be bitter and twisted and cut myself off from them feeling no longer part of the group. My choice, not theirs. I’m sure they would have been more than happy to chat to me about what they had done and in time the chatter would have moved on and I would still have been part of the group. 

I can trace the collapse of my school career to this time as I then lost complete interest in my school life and started hanging out with the naughty kids, bunking off and not focussing on my school work. Now don’t feel sorry for me. None of this was done to me – I did it to myself. I could have been magnanimous but instead chose to let that feeling of left outness colour the rest of my life until I knew Christ and felt that I belonged again. I am once more secure in this world as a child of Christ. 

Around the same time as this I had my first encounter with people of faith but I chose to walk away. How different my life would have been if I had stayed.
Lord, thank you that you never gave up on me and I can cheerfully support others going off on adventures that I could never afford, secure in the knowledge that I am special in your eyes and am truly blessed in so many ways.