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The summer’s early morning sun, as full at this moment as it will be in the late evening, is peering through my window. Its beams promise a wonderfully scorching day. There are no such promises in autumn or winter.

I’m a summer man. I need what summer brings. However, as a Michigander, I’ll admit to an occasional affair with autumn. But never winter. Winter is the devil’s business. Autumn is altogether different. Its seduction is lovely. Its whispers are rustling leaves, giggling trick-or-treaters, the first bite of an orchard’s apple, and sandhill cranes screeching from a chilled river’s shore. Its scents are the fireplace’s breath, a favorite sweater, and warmed pumpkin pie. Its sights are landscape-sized detonations of rubied and golden treetops soon made bare by downward swirls of equal hues.

To experience autumn is to learn L. M. Montgomery’s scribbled sentiment, “I’m so glad I live in a world of Octobers.”

Still, I’m a summer man. And every year, the only way for me to let summer go is to pay close attention to autumn’s deepest lesson. The trees have leaves. But they must let them go and move on. And until they do, they’ll be forever leaving summer rather than drawing closer to its promised return.

Letting go is often one of life’s necessary steps.

I have plenty of things I wish I could hold onto forever. My wife. My children. My whisky. My health. My relative self-sufficiency. My whisky. My memories. My whisky. My books. My whisky. And, I suppose, my whisky. And why wouldn’t I feel this way about these things, especially when I’ve known them all along as gifts—unmerited favors to me from God?

Nevertheless, all things have a season. I’ll let them go. But not for long. I’m not destined for this world’s recurring seasons. I’m aiming toward an eternal summer where many of these gifts will return to stay. This delightful hope most certainly includes my wife and children. And I’m pretty sure that if eternal life is as great as it sounds, whisky will return, too.

I’ve written about certain whiskies I expect to see on the Lord’s shelf. I know He’ll have a few from The Balvenie. I’m counting on a few more from The Macallan. I’m confident there will be a shelf devoted to Laphroaig. I’m convinced He’ll have a cabinet of Bruichladdich Octomores, especially the 12.3 edition. I know it likely sounds trite, but the 12.3 is very nearly heavenly. It’s a divine summer’s wonderful heat in a bottle, joyfully pleasant in every way. But it’s also a dram that leans into autumn’s glory.

The 12.3’s nose recalls an orchard’s ripest apples smoked with freshly fallen oak leaves. Its malt remembers open fields at harvest time. A sip’s savoring looks back to summer with fondness. It stirs up comfortable memories with family—of feasting on seasoned meats and buttery breads before taking an early evening seaside stroll drenched in salty breezes.

The finish recommits to autumn’s innermost lesson. Its dried fruits, honey, and smoke linger long enough to enjoy while also being thoughtful enough to remind, “The sooner you let me go, the sooner you can poor another, and I can start again.”

And so, you let go—as it is and must be with so many of life’s delightful things.