There’s a park on the shore of the St. Mary’s River, a short walk from my office. When weather permits, and sometimes even when it doesn’t, I spend my lunch hours there writing, reading and praying. When staff moves the tables and benches inside for the winter, I’m forced to make other plans. Until then, I get full value from my mid-day breaks by spending them in this naturally refreshing place.

            On a late October day I sat at a picnic table in the park surrounded by books, paper and lunch. A north wind sent chills through my too-light sweater while noisy geese congregated nearby, planning their southbound flight. The sun peeked from behind the clouds every few minutes but not long enough to take the shiver from my arms and back.

            Others drifted away, driven from the park by the cold. I knew my days there were numbered so I stayed and watched a tour boat make what might be its last trip downriver. Understanding my sadness at saying goodbye to my lunch hour retreat, a little blast of sunshine blessed me. I wilted with pleasure and thanked God for it.

            As I nibbled at my sandwich and let my senses drink in the grandness of my surroundings, from a stand of thick pines came the distinctive whine of bagpipes. After a few priming notes, an invisible piper filled the air with Amazing Grace. Its notes drifted over the water. Quickly tourists gathered on deck, arms wrapped tightly round their trembling bodies. A few walkers broke stride to stand and listen. I didn’t speak with the other lookiers but I shared with them a sacred moment on a bleak October day. Tears flowed behind my sunglasses as I remembered the generosity of His grace to me. In my notebook, I wrote –  

O limitless grace

Grace that saved my soul from sin

Grace that healed the brokenness within

Grace that brought my loved ones in

Oh Grace, awesome, limitless grace.

Continue strong, continue long

Until that appointed time when all who’ve partaken of grace

Will fall in wonder before your face.


            Ten blissful minutes later the phantom piper emerged from nature’s closet of pine. We clapped, this sprinkling of strangers and me. Thank you for warming our souls today by reminding us of God’s never-ending kindness. The piper took a bashful bow.

            One day I will stand with throngs of people I don’t know and together we’ll applaud His amazing grace. 

             What message is October sending you?

Jerusalem Road on the shore of Lake Mindemoya

I couldn’t write about October without sharing with you my favorite fall photo. This is the road our cottage is on – this stretch of it is called Jerusalem Road. My sister, Brenda, a gifted photographer took this photo in 2008 and every member of our family has a framed copy.

About rosemccormickbrandon

An award winning personal experience writer, Rose McCormick Brandon is a frequent contributor to faith magazines, devotionals and compilations, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Rose is the author of Promises of Home: Stories of Canada's British Home Children (2014). One Good Word Makes all the Difference (2013), He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me (2012) and Vanished: What Happened to My Son. She's a frequent contributor to The Testimony, Today's Pentecostal Evangel and other faith magazines in Canada, U.S. and Australia. Rose also writes about Canadian history, specifically the era of Child Immigration from Britain. Read her stories of child immigrants at: http://littleimmigrants.wordpress.com
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9 Responses to October

  1. vanyieck says:

    I love the post, I especially love the photo. What am I doing this October? Manitoulin dreaming.

  2. Anne says:

    His Amazing Grace appears often unexpectedly but always just when we need. To know it arrived through bagpipes for you that day, I just had to say ‘aye, music to a weary soul’. Be blessed dear friend.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The pictures are so beautiful,thank you.Tears filled my eyes when I read what you wrote.How truly amazing is God’s grace.Marge

  4. Mindemoyer Road is so beautiful. It so beautiful, beautiful work. Such a beautiful poem to go with it.

  5. Darlene says:

    wonderful story and great picture. We were there for Thanksgiving and drove that road to our trailer. God’s paintbrush is always amazing and each time new and fresh. I guess that’s the way we should be too. Have a great fall day. We got snow today! Luv Darlene

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