The light has changed. I noticed it today for the first time. It is no longer the harsh overhead glare of summer, but the soft golden glow of autumn. Looking through the trees in the forest, it is speckled…rays floating down with a shimmer as the breeze blows. It rests on the leaves like flecks of gold. While the dogwoods are blushing, the sourwoods bleed. They are the first to notice the changes in the light. Soon the other trees will catch up to them and change into their colorful attire, but for now there is only a hint of the spectacle to come…just enough that the Golden rod fluffs up, swaying in the wind. It seems to be singing to the trees, reminding them to get ready. The sky is deeper blue since the humidity is less. The cotton-puff clouds float amongst the wispy ones as if they cannot decide who is in the right place. They are content to share the sky until the changing of the guard. The mountain is still as ever, waiting in anticipation, but not showing it. Steadfast and deep green, the ridges bow into the valleys which are slightly less so. The pastures below roll in tall grass that is fading into shades of gold which will soon be brown. The horses romp and play in the cooler temperatures…their manes standing out behind them as their muscles shimmer with the golden glow. They know. They can feel it.
I am always amazed at the change of seasons. They are predictable, yet distinct. Each one brings with it a certain emotion. For me, fall is my favorite. I look forward to it each year for all things pumpkin, and color, and cool, and cozy. Bonfires, cider, sweaters, and holidays. Hikes, homecomings, smores, and family. It is a precursor to winter, a refreshing burst of color before the colorless, but also beautiful, black and white of the coming months. Fall makes me happy. There is nothing going on in my life that a drive through the mountainous palate of fiery color will not soothe. You cannot beat rolling down the windows for the chilly wind to surround you. Whether it is blowing your hair or sliding over a shiny bald head, it has the same effect…freedom. Watching the leaves dive and float down in the soft light is mesmerizing. My nose takes in the crunchy-leave smell, and my ears hear the scattering of the same leaves as they blow across the backwoods trails and crunch under my feet. It is glorious. I relish the fact that I live in an area that has four seasons that are each special and last approximately the same amount of time. I am always ready for the next one; just about the time the calendar says it is time.
One thing I know…that the seasons teach me…is that God is a God of seasons. There are times of new growth, and times of pruning. Times of harvest and times of bareness. They are as regular as the clock ticking and EVERYONE goes through them. When a season of bareness is upon you there is ALWAYS a season of new growth that follows. When fruit is bountiful, savor it, because a season will come where there is no fruit. It is the way of life. Sometimes we don’t always understand, or even like, the seasons that come our way. I think one reason for this is because we cannot control them. It feels they are happening to us…and without our consent. Yet, God uses even the down times in our lives to shape us. Our roots go deeper in these seasons, even as we realize that we know less than we thought. The other reason it is hard to embrace the seasons of drought is that we never seem to know how long they will last. We want to wish them away because they are uncomfortable and sometimes downright life shattering. There are tears involved, and broken hearts, and pain…lots of pain. There are no answers in these times. None. All is quiet and still. It is deafening. No words said find solace in the heart.
The thing to remember about seasons is that they are always changing. The harshness of the summer heat gives way to the golden gentle light of fall. The winter turns its harsh temperatures into a blanket to protect and feed the plants underneath, so that they can give way to spring. It is important to remember these things…these changes of season. God has purposes in each one, even when we cannot see them. And when we are tired of bleak, he pours out color. When we are tired of hot, the cool comes. He is trustworthy to bring us through every season. I, for one, am thankful for the fact that the light has changed.