Fall in the City in a Forest

Fall in Atlanta is stunning.

There's a tree on our running route that turns the most incredible color of yellow in the fall.  Weeks ago, as we passed under it, I pointed up and told Marley, "There's my favorite tree!"  She said "Oh".  Then, "Who gave that to you Mama?"  That's her thing these days- always wanting to know who gave her what.  "Who gave me these shoes?  Who gave me my pink bear?  Who gave me my bicycle?"  I laughed at her asking who gave me a tree, but then I said, "Heavenly Father did."

The air turned balmy at the beginning of November.  For days the girls and I explored the Olmstead park on our way home from our daily runs.  When the boys came home we wandered the woods behind their school and the nearby Fernbank Forest.  One day, on the way to the grocery store with all four of my kids and two of my neighbor's, I made a u-turn in the middle of the street and pulled over at a playground.  The kids ran and jumped and screamed at the top of their lungs in the indian summer evening.

Was all of this here last year?  Between the homesickness and the morning sickness I hadn't noticed the beauty of an Atlanta fall.  I'd missed the damp gray of the old mansions of Druid Hills against the warm fire of fall leaves.  The smell of wet tree trunks and the laughter of my children playing late into the afternoon.

My old friend, an uncertain future, has been my constant companion this fall.  When the days first started turning cooler, applications were going out, visions of new homes in new cities were filling our heads, and my anxiety level was high.  But as the leaves turned, my heart turned to a brilliant present.  As I spent every extra moment outdoors with my kids, I felt God's love surrounding me in this place I was so sure I could never call home.  It felt like a gift from a Father who knows me well enough to know that I would need extra support in this time of flux and change.

As I sat in testimony meeting this morning a thought formed in my heart, as clear as the blue Georgia sky.  The gospel is my home.  The savior is my home.  Wherever we go, he'll be there.