Fall scene in MA (credit: Blog author)
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 beginning of Autumn. I must say, Autumn is by far my most favorite season (with Winter a close second). As Summer winds down I tend to get perked up. And now here we are, the first day of 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.
For many, this is a season of desolation with the greenery dying off and the days shorter. But, as we look around we can see much color, hear the sounds of the leaves beneath our feet, and smell the cornucopia of scents invading our 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 decay and desolation. A beauty in the recognition that after this time of desolation will come another season of rebirth and new growth. This is not the end, but only the beginning. This is change, and in the process of change we feel the pain before the joy. At this time we experience a decay and desolation, only for the trees to reproduce their leaves and the fallen leaves to provide fertilizer enabling the new growth of plants in the Spring. This is a season of preparation, yet in this preparation there is its own beauty.
Change is never easy, and as I have blogged about in the past (click here to find previous posts) it is necessary to remember that change, although different, doesn't have to be negative. The process may be painful, but if we begin to focus on the end 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 try, to varying degrees of success, to follow these. I hope they are helpful to you.
- Recall the memories of this past Summer. Cherish your experiences from the past season.
- 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 and asking for guidance and strength to make it through this new season.
- Anticipate the future in this new season. Prepare for what you can control; plan for what you can't (see previous blog posts on this topic).
- Experience this season of Autumn through the eyes of a child - you will be surprised at the insights.
In all things, try to cherish the moment at hand.