Yes, I know that "October Surprise" has bad connotations, being a political ploy of politicians looking to be elected in November. But here it was something rare and beautiful. It was well after dark when I got home Monday, and once the truck lights shut off I thought what I was seeing was merely the neighbor's enormous combine shining lights up through the dust while harvesting beans. Then I looked closer...it was actually the aurora borealis! This makes about the fourth or fifth time I've been able to see them in the last three decades, so it's a rare treat. Despite the freezing temperatures, I sat on my patio swing for over an hour, enjoying the show. They don't look like the vibrant, sparkling lights one sees on television shows about Alaska; here they are understated and subtle. I've seen some northern lights show pink and red before, but Monday's were white, blue and green, pale pastels flowing over the horizon in gentle waves. Most of the time I could still see the stars through the gossamer veils, while some waves seemed to drift closer and coalesce, obscuring the stars. One little cloud of light seemed almost to perch on my roof top, perhaps caught for a moment on the eaves, until it could pull free and continue on it's way. What a peaceful interlude, gently rocking in my patio swing, nestled deep in my jacket, my head resting back on the cushion, quietly overcome by the awesome spectacle of the night sky. It was a perfect combination of clear air, shimmering northern lights, and brilliant stars. I do wish folks would turn off the yard lights, street lights, and advertising lights, and take time to slow down and look up. They may be astonished at what they're missing - a beautiful show, and no political ads!!
We recently took a family trip, and it was a real adventure for us to drive clear across two states, and a lot of fun to explore and see new places. By the time we got back, we had put over a thousand miles on the van in just three days, and been through big cities, stretches of farm land, across major rivers, through valleys, and over hills.
The very next day, that same van stranded me in the parking lot at work. God is so good!! When I thought about all the places we had just been, so far away from home, all I could do was sit there with the hood up and the door open, laughing. My co-workers thought it a strange reaction to a broken down vehicle, but I was looking at the bigger picture. Getting my brother to rescue me from work was a trivial inconvenience, compared to what could have been. It makes me wonder, how many times does God take what Satan intended as a major, heart-breaking hurt, and instead allow it only as an inconvenience? How often are we protected by His grace, without even realizing it?
Our October weather has been pretending it's November, with hard freezes and drizzly days. It seems no Indian summer for us this year - and me still with dozens of chores to do before the homestead is ready for winter. We'll be making the green tomatoes into relish and pickles, scrounging for firewood, cutting the grass one more time, and getting the screens out of the windows, among other projects. I certainly wish there was a way to make a full time income, and yet be home with time to get everything done! Maybe I'll have to look into cloning...