Is not this a true autumn day?
Just the still melancholy that I love–
that makes life and nature harmonize.
…the trees give us a scent that is
a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit.
My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about
the earth seeking the successive autumns.
Goodbye “dreamful autumn,” your “pale amber sunlight” and the “twilight silences” of your “prosaic days” have created their usual “golden spell that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power.” “The leaves by hundreds came…The sunshine spread a carpet, and everything was grand; Miss Weather led the dancing; Professor Wind, the band…the sight was like a rainbow new-fallen from the sky” while “the sound of life” wound “down to its cyclic close” with a “bittersweet, mellow, messy leaf-kicking pause” and “flaming torches” that lighted “the way to winter.” “The mild heavens,” “the tenderly solemn” days and nights, the “reverent meekness in the air,” the bursts of “color and beauty, radiant with glory,” “the fading of holy stars in the dim light of morning,” “the closing up of a beautiful life” all touched again “something old in the human soul.” Your “ripeness and color and time of completion” came “like a warrior, with the stain of blood upon his brazen mail.” His “crimson scarf” was “rent…” “The wind” wafted “to us the odor of leaves that” hung “wilted on the dripping branches…” as your “funeral anthem of the dying year” played on. “The whole body of the air” was “enriched by” the “calm, slow radiance” of your days, and so we listened with delight to your “rhythms that are the heart of life.” And now the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” and the wild “music of autumnal winds amongst the faded wood” have lowered to the gradual hush that always comes “with the deepening of autumn” and the approach of the winter solstice. Oh, “delicious autumn,” “the hush before winter,” “the year’s last, loveliest smile” your “magic of earth-scents and sky-winds” truly are “ordained for the healing of the soul.”
“Nevertheless, I (the Lord) will bring healing to it: I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.” ~Jeremiah 33:6 ✝
Autumn is the eternal corrective.
It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity;
but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance.
What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop
and fail to see the span of his world
and the meaning of the rolling hills
t hat reach to the far horizon?
Nature reveals intimations of its Maker in so many ways. It can even mask disturbing realities in this fallen world so that in the remaining clarity one can gain a better perspective of the bigger picture. The exact beginning and end of nature’s seasons, like the seasons of our lives, come and go shrouded to some extent in veils of mystery. And we can never really be sure of the exact moment in time that the spark of change ignites. Nor do we know when the remaining ember of that initial spark will die, but the time and space between beginnings and endings, like autumn, ripen life with more than enough breadth and depth and distance and color. For example it was over 80 degrees here today and although I did not “waste anything as precious as autumn’s sunshine,” I know November’s door will close at midnight and the winter solstice is only 3 weeks away. But I also know there’s no guarantee that the solstice will mark the exact end of lovely autumnesque realities. The weather forecast may say that an arctic norther will start blowing in here in the wee hours of the morning and plummet our temperatures to below freezing by tomorrow night. But the same forecast also shows that a day later we’ll be on the climb right back up to the warmer ripeness and color that is quintessentially autumn. So who knows? Is this cold snap the beginning of the end or will it be the next one or the one after that? There may be many things we cannot know in this life, and although it has been said that “life is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing,” others perceive life as a different kind of tale. I, for one, find that standing outside in autumn, or any season for that matter, gives me glimpses of Yahweh, the Holy One, wrote the tale, who knows everything, who’s in control, and who has a plan, purpose, and time for all things under heaven.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. ~Ecclesiastes 3:11 ✝