The woods is shining this morning. Red, gold and green, the leaves lie on the ground, or fall, or hang full of light in the air still. Perfect in its rise and in its fall, it takes the place it has been coming to forever. It has not hastened here, or lagged. See how surely it has sought itself, its roots passing lordly through the earth. See how without confusion it is all that it is, and how flawless its grace is. Running or walking, the way is the same. Be still. Be still. “He moves your bones, and the way is clear.” ~Wendell Berry “Grace”
If I’m confused (as I often am)
about where I’ve been, where I am, where I’m going,
I look to the cycles of the seasons to be reminded
all things (and I) come round
what is barren will bud
what buds will grow lush and fruit
what flourishes will fade and fall,
and come to rest and stillness
All things come round
making the way clear.
Grace forges a path
I need to follow.
The passing of the summer fills again my heart with strange sweet sorrow, and I find the very moments precious in my palm. Each dawn I did not see, each night the stars in spangled pattern shone, unknown to me, are counted out against me by my God, who charges me to see all lovely things… ~Jane Tyson Clement from “Autumn”
We’re already a month into autumn and I’ve had a hard time letting go of summer.
The earth also is struggling with the inevitable transition as the last few weeks have been filled with blue skies, warm days and no killing frosts.
In short, it seemed perfection: sweater weather filled with vibrant leaf color, clear moonlit nights and outstanding sunrises.
I feel I must see it all, to witness and record and savor it. God convicted us to see, listen, taste and believe.
Can we ever hope for a more merciful sentence given the trouble we’ve been to Him? He loves us still.
into the coppery halls of beech and intricate oak to be close to the trees as they whisper together let fall their leaves, and we die for the winter ~Katherine Towers “Whim Wood” from The Remedies
Lord: it’s time. The summer was magnificent. Lay your shadows upon the sun-dials and o’er the isles allow your winds to vent.
Command the final fruits to be full and fine; give them two more days in the southern sun, push them to completion and then run the last sweetness through the heavy wine.
He who now has no house, will build one never. He who is alone, will long so remain, will awaken, read, lengthy letters pen and in the lanes will forever restlessly wander, when the leaves are driven. ~Rainer Maria Rilke “Autumn Day”
I’m drawn to pathways that lead to an unseen destination ahead.
Perhaps the endpoint is out of sight round a curve, or over a rise, or it is too far distant for my eyes to find.
I’m called to journey forth, even when staying put seems easier. There is a restlessness to these days, to these wanderings, as I keep looking behind to see where I’ve been.
Lord, help me find my way. Lord, it is time I find my way.
I believe you’ll be able to say, as I can say today: ‘I’m glad I’m here.’
Believe me, all of you, the best way to help the places we live in is to be glad we live there. ~Edith Wharton from Summer
I’m reminded today and every day: I’m glad I’m here. I would choose no other place to be.
I’m especially thankful as I gaze out at this 360 degree landscape every morning and again as the evening light flames bright before fading at night.
This place — with its vast field vistas, its flowing grasses, its tall firs, its mountain backdrops — has been beautiful for generations of native people and homesteaders before I ever arrived thirty three years ago.
It will remain so for many more generations long after I am dust – gladness is the best fertilizer I can offer up to accompany God-given sun and rain.
Of winter’s lifeless world each tree Now seems a perfect part; Yet each one holds summer’s secret Deep down within its heart. ~ Charles G. Stater
Enduring the dark and quiet winter months, the trees appear to doze deep while standing stark naked against the sky, roused only by the whipping of the winds and when breaking under a heavy coat of ice.
It is uneasy sleep.
When I look close now, I can tell:
they conceal summer secrets under their skin, the sap flows thick and sluggish, there is a barely palpable pulse in those branches.
In the beginning is a dream of being. This is real: What the earthworm and slug do in their becoming what cells and galaxies do what the atoms in lichen and microbes are– the glue and the forces that hold us together– the armature of bones and stones. How the mountain and trees and oceans breathe. What the whale knows. We don’t know why only glimpses of how and what from the source of compassion– life making life and becoming as it turns again and again. ~Carol Snyder Halberstadt “What We Are”
Each day I glimpse cells organized into structures programmed to reproduce themselves. The essence of life making life comes from a spark of continuous renewal, from the dying away to the born once again.
The spark may be sheer chemistry between molecules, or an electromagnetic interaction of particles.
It may be a prophecy fulfilled or an old story retold or a dream made real.
I believe the spark is nothing less than Love itself, whether within the DNA of slugs or lichens or that of our precious next generation born in the image of God.
In the beginning, we were begun by this Love. In His compassionate grace, we will begin again and again.
I know all too well that the end of October means the light changes, the colors fade, and the chill sets in. I grasp and bundle up what scenes I can preserve now, like harvesting hay to be tied up in bales and stored safely until the middle of winter. Then, at the right time, when I’m most hungry for color and light, I loosen the strings and let the images tumble out, feeding me like mother’s milk.