Happy Fall to all! As the first day of a new, beautiful season, we shall look back on Summer with contentment as it slowly and gracefully slips away.

The world was indeed green as Summer entered with a few weeks of rain. Wonderful for plants and a bit of cool weather. After seeing my first batch of seniors off into the world, we rejoiced with our children as we celebrated their year of dance with a well-deserved recital. How they have grown and progressed into beautiful, confident dancers!

Our first real week of Summer ended with two glorious days of camping with dear friends where we formed a sort of “Fellowship” along a hiking trail (“What about second breakfasts? Or elevensies?”), chased the camp rats (some variety of chucks), and giggled at Little Sir’s candid comments, my favorite being, “I need a smoke,” as he sat down in front of the fire pit ready with a marshmallow and roasting stick.

After a few days of swimming and fishing, we celebrated this wonderful country of ours with a trip to the family cabin then a trip back home for the traditional parade and family picnic, during which time family members noticed one of us was not as chipper as he usually is. After repeatedly receiving a “fine” while inquiring about his health, they leave it alone, while I wait for said ailing one to let me know what he needs when he needs it. After voluntarily checking himself into the doctor’s, he returns home with us a day later to recuperate, rather quickly I might add, from a non-emergency appendectomy.

In another kind of doctor’s office, one sweetie excitedly began her orthodontic work. While she had a fairly easy procedure, yours truly sat in another chair waiting for a simple re-gluing of an appliance only to discover that said appliance was actually broken. When asked by the assistant how old the thing was, I quickly calculated and chuckled as I related it was as older than my high school diploma. A blank stare and she heads off to the office. The orthodontist comes over and asks me what’s up. He and I both laugh as I tell him they’ve gone to find my file and we imagine them digging through some box in a back room somewhere. It’s successfully retrieved, we get fitted for a new appliance, and both one sweetie and I leave with sore teeth.

A few birthday dinners and lake trips later, der Meister leaves for a week with the scouts while the rest of us journey south to visit family and partake of the local outdoor entertainment. Here in the land of Zion, the girls and I continue our summertime activity: a tour of our local temples. As we wander the grounds together we take photos, admire the flowers, look at the bees, and talk about the individual temples we are visiting: when they were built, which number they were in our state, unique facts about each. These sweet times prepare us for the unique opportunity of attending the dedication of the Oquirrh Mountain Temple together. Personal revelation is alive and well, and can come to you in the temple. What a blessing to have a place where your mind can be clear enough to hear the Lord’s desire for you.

Throughout the Summer, news arrived of new arrivals expected on both sides of our family, as well as for some of our friends. The blessing of babies for many.

Blessings continue as we gather in yet another hospital room for yet another, tinier family member, and watch as two priesthood holders bless a little one for her upcoming surgery and recovery. Said little one, a Bit T relation, has emergency surgery which leaves her one organ short and with a scar as wide as she is. The blessing: she recovered quickly and successfully and with all smiles she proudly shows off her scar.

The girls meet their new school teachers and become excited for the new school year. I successfully, albeit awkwardly, finish a summer tap class in which I became the oldest member (even surpassing the teacher) after our enrollment drops from 10 to 3, and in which I learn that after a certain age and certain events, one’s body does not behave the way it used to no matter how much one wills it. Turns become fewer, movement becomes slower, certain dance steps are not to be performed because, as one fellow dancer said, “I like my teeth.” I learned to appreciate the knowledge of dance teachers who know how to teach adults and adapt the style to them. And my appreciation of teachers who encourage even their adults students (“You’ve got it! You’re doing great!”) continues to increase.

We rejoice in receiving letters and electronic messages from both new and well-seasoned friends as they update us on the events of their lives and continue to make us smile with their lively personalities.

Hiking in the mountains one day, we see red leaves and realize that Autumn is on its way. We wake up one morning to smell that crisp, clean air through the bright blue sky that says Summer has left us and Autumn has arrived. The school bells start ringing, the mountains are brushed with red and gold, and that glorious cool air that reminds you that you’re alive rushes through you.

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun,
. . .
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too —
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue . . .”
from “To Autumn” by John Keats

Happy Equinox to all.