Autumn and the blessings of our five senses

Playl's Ponderings


Hey y’all, it’s fall! Have you ever noticed how fall has a ball messin’ with our senses? The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes are at their peak. And that really makes me feel good. I hope it works that way for you, too.

Think with me about some of the stirring of the senses going on this time of the year. The most obvious visual stimulation is the leaves of deciduous trees working through their transformation from green to all sorts of colors, tints, and hues. The beauty of our part of the world is indescribable. Driving from Bristol to Mountain City and on to Boone, North Carolina, the past few weeks has been breathtaking. I wish you could have been with us as we “oohed” and “ahhed” and just pointed in awe at the beautiful golds, reds, maroons, and - especially - oranges as we drove through tunnels of branches and gazed at mountains close by and in the distance. It was amazing.

The sound of those leaves rattling as a breeze blows through the tree limbs, rustle across the lawn or pavement, or crunch under foot; all those sounds are different and all are mesmerizing. Crackling, flickering, and the aroma of a wood fire in the fireplace or firepit are practically hypnotic. Hot chocolate and s’mores while sitting around that fire do  things for the taste buds.

Speaking of taste, how about anything pumpkin and spice - pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream, pumpkin roll, pumpkin bread or cookies...we could go on and on. Apple cider, apple cobbler, apple butter (and making it, too). Of course all of those tastes stir the olfactory senses, too.

Thanksgiving dinners produce all kinds of sensory stimulation...but let’s wait a couple of weeks before salivating over turkey and dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, and more punkin’ pie. What about Halloween? Trick or treat? Or Trunk ‘N’ Treat?

Weren’t those little trick or treaters precious? Some of them were so stinking cute. Hopefully you got to enjoy the sound of a 3-year-old or a 5-or-7-year-old, saying “twick a tweet” and watched them run back to a parent, grandparent, or older sibling squealing, “Look at what I got.”

They were so cute in their little costumes, especially the princesses and the Marios but even the scary ones. And Sammie really loved hearing small children that you would think were too young to notice when they proclaimed in admiration, “Your house is so pretty.”

Even better is hearing, “I love you, Mommy. I love you, Daddy. I love you, Papa. I love you, Nahnee.” What do we feel when we hear those proclamations?

In our neck of the woods, this year, we’ve seen a lot of folks decked out in orange and white talking about football. We’ve seen a packed out Neyland Stadium, at least on TV, and heard the roaring of happy fans in Knoxville. “It’s football time in Tennessee!”

As I thought about the sights and sounds that make some folks happy around here this time of year, I wondered what brings joy to the heart of God? What does He like to see and hear from his children? I immediately thought of The Prodigal Son. I thought about how the father in the parable was so overjoyed to see his son coming home that he ran to meet him. I thought about how God longs to hear our prayers; hear us confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness, praying, “I love you, Father.” He longs to see us on our knees. And He longs to hear us sing “Halleluiah!” as we embrace His love and forgiveness.

Then He wants to see us pass His love on and shower those around us with kindness. Try it. I believe it will make you feel good.

-Steve Playl may be reached by email.


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