Way back in the 1980’s I took this photo while I lived in a small town in western Massachusetts. Most people I know tend to get excited, perk up, prepare for, and are encouraged as Spring moves into Summer. Not that I don’t like Summer, but for me, I do the same preparations for the coming of Autumn. I must say, Autumn is by far my most favorite season (with Winter a close second), and now here we are, days into Autumn!
As far back as I can remember I have enjoyed Autumn. Growing up in the northern reaches of the US I am used to the colder seasons, probably part of the reason for my enjoyment of Autumn. Of all the seasons I find this one to be especially focused on family and God. During this season there are holidays, gatherings and the beginning of school. Halloween and Thanksgiving are near with Christmas not too far away. The cooler weather draws us closer together as we huddle indoors, and as we do so I hope we recognize the presence of God in our lives and those of our loved-ones.
Yet for many, this is a season of desolation as the greenery dies off and the days get shorter. As I look around I see much color, hear the sounds of the leaves beneath my feet, and smell the cornucopia of scents invading my nostrils. This may be a time of decay, but in the transition of the season we are given a most wonderful and beautiful gift; the gift of change. It is, hopefully, a gift to inspire us. For me, I see beauty before I see the decay and desolation. There is also a beauty in the recognition that after this time of desolation will come another season of rebirth and new growth. This season of Autumn is not the end, only the beginning. This season represents change, and in the process of change we feel the pain before the joy. We may now be experiencing a decay and desolation, but it is all a part of the circle of life, for the trees will reproduce their leaves and the fallen leaves will provide fertilizer enabling the new growth of plants in the Spring. This is a season of preparation, yet in this time of preparation there is also its own beauty.
Change is never easy, and as I have written about in the past it is necessary to remember that change, although different, doesn’t have to be negative. The process may be painful, but if we focus on the result we see that for which we long. As we see the leaves fall we are assured there will be Spring followed by Summer. The cycle of life; mirroring the cycles of our lives.
Not that I have the answers, but here are a few suggestions I have come up with to help in this time of transition. I hope they are helpful to you:
- Fondly recall the memories of this past Summer and cherish those experiences.
- Acknowledge, don’t try to hide, the past with its pleasures, hurts, and expectations.
- Spend a few moments in quiet prayer being thankful for all we have, asking for guidance and strength to make it through this new season.
- Anticipate the future, preparing for what you can control; plan for what you can’t control.
- Experience this season of Autumn through the eyes of a child – you will be surprised by your insights.
In all things, try to cherish the moment at hand.
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