The chill of Autumn has arrived in New Home. The mornings are darker, the air cooler, the light attaining that angle and softness that only Fall can bring.
Autumn is a season which I have come to appreciate more and more every year that it comes. So often we think of Autumn as a time of dying, of preparation for the death that Winter represents. Trees shed their leaves, many plants either die outright or prepare themselves for the rigors of winter, animals scurry about laying in their last stores for the coming ugly weather.
Admittedly, Fall can often be depressing. Once the beauty of the leaves turns away, we are left with a variegated pallet of browns and tans for our viewing pleasures. For those that love the sun, the shorter days and longer nights can be depressing; for those that love the warmth, it can be cold as well.
But I have come to see Autumn more clearly.
Autumn is not only a time of dying, it is also a time of preparing. Plants are dying, it's true - but as a gardener, there's a whole new set of plantings that occur for the coming spring ahead. Autumn is also a forced encourager: mindful of winter, it drives us to finish tasks which we would otherwise delay because darkness and cold are hard to work in. It is that time of the last harvest, when the gleanings of the garden can be collected before the final die off.
But perhaps most valuable to me, it is also a time of consideration: consideration of our own life.
Autumn is a subtle reminder that life is moving forward, and that the time we have now - no matter how long or short in the temporal sense - will eventually come to an end. Like the annuals in my garden, there is an end to our season as well. The falling leaves and brittle stalks are my own reminder that so much of what we spend our time on will fade into the soil of life. Am I seeking to build those things that last beyond life into my own? Or will I awake in the spring of Heaven to discover I failed to plant as I should have in the Fall of existence, with no harvest there to be taken.
Winter is coming, that is certain. How we act in Autumn will determine what we see in Spring.