– Monday Muse –
Dear One, this October, Fall’s display of glorious color seemed to arrive almost all at once…on the morning of Tuesday the eighth. The spectacle reminded me of an earlier fall…and another of life’s lessons.
A Fall from the past…
This fall hasn’t been one of northern Michigan’s finest. Most of the time the temperature has been cold, the sun faint and undefined, but the leaves are doing their ‘thing,’ changing attire from take-it-for-granted green to the colors of apple red, pumpkin orange and squash yellow. And occasionally, momentarily, the Sun does peek from behind her blanket of cloud-cover to highlight every tree as far as my appreciative eyes can see. But the spectacular show is unusually brief, often over before the first, “Aaaaah,” has left my lips. It seems with the changing of the leaves that the Sun has become modest. And if she does temporarily forget herself, and drop her cover of clouds, she quickly pulls them up again, tighter than before, making the landscape appear even duller. And all the while the sky continues to resemble an unmade bed covered by lumpy, gray sheets. It is in such weather that I stay inside, and think about other falls which offered warm, brilliant, golden opportunities. The stalemate is on; if the Sun won’t come out, neither will I.
Then one dark night, while I fall in and out of sleep, nature makes an aggressive move which breaks the impasse. Throughout the night, the wind grows stronger and stronger, rising, falling, and pushing unceasingly. I listen to it howl like one listens to music, never considering the result of a late October windstorm.
Before dawn the next morning while I go through my irregular, regular routine, I never give the windy night a thought, but when the cloud-hidden Sun finally gets around to breaking over the horizon, changing darkest night into dreary day, she reveals the unpredicted, but predictable, results.
The entire lackluster backyard and floor of the surrounding woods are covered with a deep, thick carpet, everywhere lays a variegated carpet of mostly golden leaves. Overhead, leaves dance high, HIGH in the air, whipping this way and that before fluttering to the ground. The maples, oaks, and beech trees which had been full yesterday, hold only a skimpy covering of leaves. The sumac, along with the poplars and wild cherry trees, are stripped. This massive relinquishing of leaves to the ground for another season catches me off guard. I am not ready for it, for the Sun has not done her part. She hasn’t spotlighted the woods with brilliant color or provided autumn warmth for pleasant walks on crunchy leaves. I have only hoped for it from my window… a mere spectator in the changing of the season.
Beneath a murky sky, I watch leaves rise higher and higher to perhaps a 100 feet, and lavishly spread across a lush, dull carpet. Though ignored by the Sun, the outdoors now seems to be a gift to be enjoyed. I hurry to the hall closet and pull out hiking boots, hat, jacket, and gloves.
If I am not going to be given a chance to walk with warm sunshine on my back, with dazzling, autumn-colored leaves overhead, I’ll walk over them, and instead of slinging my jacket over a shoulder, I’ll wear it over both. And if the Sun won’t warm me from the outside, the overcast beauty of nature will warm me from the inside out.
As I open the outside door I find the threshold piled high with leaves as they swirl and rise to greet me. My boots become leaf-plows and, in just a few short strides, part hundreds of leaves. I gaze at my intended path through the woods. It is completely lined with gold, not with the vibrant gold which bright rays of sunshine produce, but with deep, rich shades. The leaves are high – ankle deep. I take a cool, deep breath of crisp air, and out of habit, look upward for the missing sun. My habitual search is sidetracked by a multitude of playful leaves dancing in midair. Invigorated, I turn and head down the carpeted two-track.
It is then, I realize how, far too often, I impatiently wait for my situation to change… when what is really needed is a change-of-attitude…for many good opportunities, though not perfect, are golden.
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
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