As I write this, dried vegetables simmer in beef broth on the front stove burner. It’s that kind of day when the wind blows cold and the green of everything has taken on a darker hue. I love this weather, don’t you?
In Upstate New York are four distinct seasons. But sometimes spring seems an extension of winter, or it skips it altogether and heads right to summer without enough rain. And the gray skies…oh the gray skies! Yes, I’ve talked of them once before…they seem to occur 360 days a year. We try hard to rejoice anyway and faithfully take our vitamin D.
Summer gives way to fall, and gardens die out to weeds; squash shrivels into brown somethings, and I find stray green beans that have turned yellow. It’s time to pull garden plants and send them to compost. Plants and seeds go to their death.
Earlier I walked, trying to find some late morning sun, but not today. It is a fall-sky day, wrought with sharp grayness. Even if it rains, fall is dry and crisp, much better to me than the humid-hot of summer. It brings an air of it’s own and pulls me along with it.
You can feel the turning especially in autumn. One day, you notice the daylight left quickly with summer. Humming birds desert the feeders; those quick energy burning little ones are first to move on. Geese band together in large flocks, floating and bobbing at the bend of the Susquehanna. They make a ruckus I can hear inside the house.
I will watch the turning colors, and I will see them fall. They will be splendid for a few weeks, and if winds choose to be strong, many will fall at once. But others…those copper oaks will cling to the branches long into winter. They will curl up like fingers on a hand and sing a crinkle song to the wind.
How can such beauty really be…death? And why am I not sad?
Because death and renewal go side by side.
Just as the seed dies to the earth, we die to our own selfishness to conform to the image of Christ. We desire to be like him, because he is so good, so faithful, and such a true friend. Because he has drawn us with a passionate love that does not die; love that circumvents all of life in its wonder and hopelessness, its courage and failure. We must love because he loves.
Leaves and seeds all fall to the earth to be poured on by rain, and laden under piles of snow and cold. After the white season, those seeds black and long dead will rise again with the turning.
They will grow fresh green in the earth. Leaves will appear on the serviceberry bush, the hawthorn bush, and the trillium will rise up in the shaded woods. There will be new flowers, herbs, and berries, and grass will grow and blanket the earth to accent the sky. Just as new plants rise, and trees refresh, we rise with new hope.
We are renewed, and grow stronger.
Yes, there will be flowers upon flowers, deep in the forests that no one will ever see. As we keep a sharp eye, we bond close with Him as we nod and appreciate his skill.
Does this matter to God?
Yes…beauty for our soul, beauty for the Creator.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Psalm 51:10 NIV