Autumn

Autumn is my favorite season because it’s starting to get cooler, the humidity is usually much lower, the leaves are amazing colors, and the holidays are approaching. I think a lot of people start to turn their attention more toward home, family, and friends. Summer – the time of going out and doing stuff and going on vacation and always being busy – is ending. And while summer was great fun and everybody enjoyed themselves, autumn is the time to slow down. It’s a relief to see the busy summer days come to an end. People spend more time at home where it’s warm, tucked away from the dark evenings since the days are getting shorter. Bonfires are the events of the season, and it’s the perfect opportunity to relax with people you care about. Sweaters and blankets come out. It’s the perfect time to walk in the woods or go for a hike.

People like to compare the literal seasons to the seasons of life.

I’m not going to get all philosophical on you, don’t worry. But I do like the idea that autumn could be compared to a time in your life when things are calming down. Maybe you’ve just been through something, either something hard or something exciting or just something that demanded a lot from you, and you’ve learned a lesson. The lesson is settling in, and making you look at life in a different way. You’re appreciating things and people more than you did before. You’re notice details that you didn’t before. Most of all you know you have grown, and that gives you a warm feeling even when it’s nippy outside.

So maybe that’s another reason I enjoy autumn so much. It reminds me of the peace that only God can give me, the peace that passeth understanding, the peace that comes when I need it to and makes me look at the world in a different light.

What’s your favorite thing about autumn?

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Celtic Festival

Each year for the past several years I have attended the Highland Games and Celtic Festival. The first year I went they were known as the “Meadow” Highland Games and Celtic Festival, but since then the event has changed locations and so has changed names. I always enjoy my time at the festival. So many of my friends also go that it’s almost like a big reunion. We don’t make plans to go together, we just all end up there and meet up with each other at random times throughout the day, parting ways only to run into each other again later.

I admit I’ve never watched much of the games. I have seen enough of them to know what goes on (a lot of throwing things) and I know the last couple of years there has been a rugby match. But the games aren’t the reason I go. I go for the atmosphere of the place. There’s nothing like walking up to the gate and hearing the bagpipes playing, sometimes a couple of different groups of them playing different tunes to warm up. I love to see the crowds of people dressed in their tartans or in costumes of various sorts. The beat of drums follows everyone all day. There’s authentic Celtic food (along with the regular fair-type of foods like funnel cakes and chicken tenders) and more to buy than you could ever hope to have money for on any one weekend. There is a whole section dedicated to clan tents; each registered clan can set up their own tent to show off their tartan and their clan history, and they parade through the field and give their war cry on Sunday.

Clans and bagpipers gathered together

Clans and bagpipers gathered together

My family is, of course, very proud to be American. But I am also proud of my Irish and Scottish ancestry, and the Celtic festival is my chance to immerse myself in that culture as much as I can on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

There was one big disappointment for me this year, however. The music on the main stage was not what I would call “Celtic.” It was more like rock music with a fiddle and the occasional bagpipe thrown in. One band was better than the others, but still leaned too close to the rock genre for my taste. While I did enjoy the rest of the festival, the music hangs over it like a cloud. You can hear this wherever you go at the festival and it’s what sets the mood. So when it isn’t Celtic, the mood isn’t quite right, either. I was so disappointed, I’m considering only going for one day next year rather than two. But, who knows, I could change my mind by then.

And if Albannach comes back I will be there any time they are on stage.

Overall it was an enjoyable weekend, but this is the first time I’ve found myself looking back and wondering if it was worth the money. BUT I did get to dress up in my costume I wear as a member of the Virginia Renaissance Faire, and that is always a major plus!

Sometimes I think I might have been born into the wrong century

Sometimes I think I might have been born into the wrong century

Freedom

The land of the free. That’s where I live, and proud of it. But what does that mean?

Americans weren’t always free. Not terribly long ago, in the context of world history, the United States wasn’t thought of and the people living in the colonies in America were proud British citizens. They were just as proud to be British citizens as Americans are proud to be American citizens. The colonists had no thoughts of ever being anything but British citizens.

But somehow, somewhere along the line, things changes. The British government started treating the colonists less like British citizens and more like people who were there simply for the benefit of the British government, to serve the British government’s best interests. It was a gradual change. It wasn’t anything major and huge that happened overnight. Many people didn’t pay much attention at first. But when the government is trying to look out for its best interests, that usually means higher taxes and more restrictions on the people. More and more people were affected. More and more people came to realize this wasn’t how British citizens should be treated. You see, there was in existence a British constitution. And British citizens were not to be taxed without fair representation. But the government was looking out for its best interests, not for its people.

The colonists tried to talk with the government officials. The British constitution also provided that British citizens could bring their concerns to the government and be heard. But this didn’t do any good. The British government continued on the path they had begun, and soon colonists were being oppressed for speaking out against the injustice.

So they fought a war and won their independence and established a new country.

Sounds so simple, right? But these colonists were real people, just like you and I. Imagine the heartache these people must have felt at the thought of leaving behind the citizenship of their homeland, of going to war with their homeland. No, not all colonists opted for that choice – in fact, many remained loyal and some even returned to England. And who can blame them? After all, England was their homeland, they were British citizens. Some colonists, though, knew the value of freedom. America had become their home and they realized America would never be free as things stood. They believed so strongly in individual rights and liberties, that they made the heart wrenching decision to separate from their home country, go to war against their home country, fight against (former) fellow British citizens, and risk their lives and their homes.

All for freedom.

Because of their decision, and their steadfast follow-through once the decision was made, I am able to live in what is known as the land of the free. So often I take that for granted. But when I look around at the world and at our country today, the sacrifice of those colonists, and so many others who have come since then, stands out to me. And I wonder what they would say and do if they lived today. Would they be proud of the country they fought and died to create? Would they still call us the land of the free?

What do you think?

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…