October 16, 2014
An Autumn Reflection
The maple outside my office window is tuning scarlet and the mornings have been crisp and refreshing. You’d think as a native New Englander, I’d groove on fall colors, and I certainly remember a number of spectacular falls there, but in fact, it’s my least favorite season. My favorite color is green, so red, orange and yellow trees just doesn’t seem right to me—they are jarring to my senses. As much as I love to be outdoors and was for most of my life an avid gardener, I hate leaf raking! I hate to see the days shortening and I grieve the gradual loss of summer’s flowers. This might seem a bad way to begin an autumn reflection—take heart, I will end on a more positive note!
Autumn forces me to consider the fragility of life, and the importance of the moment, every moment. If it were endless summer, I’d likely forget to take the time to be thankful, or reflect on the deeper meanings of life. Autumn forces me to recognize I and most of my friends are aging; quite a few of them have already died. All of us will die—this fact doesn’t depress me. I know love and life are eternal, and the inevitability of death serves to remind me to say, “thank you, “I love you,” I am so indebted to you for your understanding, friendship, or companionship.” Fall becomes a time for taking stock and giving thanks. It’s not just harvest time which leads us to Thanksgiving. As the pace of life slows, as the days shorten, and cold sets in, I’m thankful for all the blessings of this life, for relationships, friendships, and for material comforts. My thanksgivings prompt me to want to give back and become even more generous. Time is short, and I need to respond NOW! Now is my time to be supportive and to share. Now is my time to offer a hand and reach out. Now is the time for resolve and taking action. If it were not for fall, I might get too caught up in living in the future. The only time which really matters is NOW! Now I may see the hand of God at work, especially in the loving actions of another. The NOW is the timeless reality in which God lives, moves, and acts.
The return of frost and cold help me remember that warmth is an inner as well as an outer experience. How could I share God’s warmth? In the coming weeks, I’ll be spending more time indoors—fall is a time to become more reflective, to take stock, and to meditate. So much as it isn’t my favorite season, I’m happy for fall, happy to experience four seasons, each with its special gifts, happy to welcome autumn.