Chapter 16. Feeding Joy: How I Remain Enthusiastic

October wind whips and swirls, tickling the leaves on so many towering trees outside my kitchen window. They flash crimson and persimmon and goldenrod. They are flat and crunchy and lovely.

I adore autumn not only because of the wonderful displays of creativity going on in the world around us, delirious splashes of color boasting beauty in the sunlight of afternoon. I love autumn because of what this season means: fresh apples sliced and sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg, folded safely into a flaky pie crust, the heavenly smell baking into every corner of my home. Flaming pumpkins and gourds that remind me of Grandma's garden, of hollowing out birdhouses from dried vegetable carcasses—new tombs that spring life for birds.

I love the return of canary-yellow school buses to our country roads. Even though my children have graduated from these giant taxis, their reappearance springs hope in my mind of children learning, making friends, and beginning on their paths into brilliant futures.

And of course, for our family, fall means football. The deafening roar of the crowd echoing off the field, the smell of grass and sweat and popcorn, the bright flicker of possibilities when a team of young men bursts into the stadium, galloping across yard lines and zigzagging onto the turf.

If there is ever a time for wild, boisterous enthusiasm, it is during a football game. I clap and scream and stomp my feet and shake my fists in the air. I don't care ...

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