Fall hiking is a form of worship for me. I try to get away early, to my quiet place, before the leaf lookers come out. It’s not that I mind sharing my backyard with the tourists, it’s just that in order to hear the sounds of the autumn choir, I like to be alone. However, today, at the beginning of my hike, there are children crashing along the trail. Their laughter and shouts can be heard coming in my direction before I see them. The mother of six and I pass with smiles and nods, we know we are here for the same reasons, but differing results. I seek quiet, and I am sure she does as well, however, with six kids in tow, chances are likely she will not be finding it. Instead, she fully embraces the noisy kind of worship that is motherhood. She carries a toddler on her back who is grinning from ear to ear, and in that face I see the face of God.
Once they have passed, I along the trail, crunching with every step. There is no silence in the fall. Even though there is no one else, there is a chorus. I quiet my thoughts by tuning my ears to the surround sound. My feet are not the only things that create music. The sound of falling leaves imitates the sound of rain. At first, I look up into the blue sky, just to make sure of what I am hearing. As my eyes travel upward, I see a confetti of multiple colors floating down towards me. I feel as if I am in a parade of celebration. The leaves collide with one another, with trunks, and branches. If it was only a few, the sound would be hardly noticeable, but with the hundreds falling, there is a constant pattering. The visual and auditory combine and create quite a beautiful display of splendor. I stand still to take it all in. I am in awe.
Moving on, my ears discover a thud, and then another. It is the acorns. One falls close enough to me that I look to see who threw it. The creek giggles, as if it knows the secret of the one vying for my attention. Soon, I know too. It is the wind, laughing at its prank. With each breath, more acorns fall adding to the confetti of leaves, and creating a kind of autumn song over me that makes me smile. Up on the ridge, there are colors that resemble stained glass with the golden rays streaming through them. The trees seem illuminated from within. It is my favorite part of the fall…glowing trees. Here, the birds join in the chorus calling back and forth to one another. The chipmunks will not be outdone, and their chatter makes the underbrush sound as if it is playing hide and seek. I stop and sit, joining my heart with God’s song. It is why I came. It is both my acceptance and offering of worship to and with my creator. My break is uninterrupted. The time stands still in the presence of his song. Once I am full to overflowing, I move down the trail with joyful steps. The holy can be found in the song of autumn worship…upon a mountain, among the trees, in the slivers of golden light.