Enjoying the beautiful season of Autumn
Crisp, cool air. Bright colors of crimson, yellow, orange, brown, green, even purple. The crackle of dry leaves underfoot. The pitter-patter of raindrops that fall from an overcast sky and the damp spray of mist. Snuggling up near a roaring fire in the evening, sipping on some delicious hot chocolate or mulled wine. The comforting scents of both outdoor and indoor autumn, especially the wonder of Thanksgiving.
Picking apples with the family and enjoying tasty apple cider. Visiting the pumpkin patch and searching high and low for that perfect little (or big) squash to take home with you and display on the mantlepiece. Long walks underneath the turning foliage. Coffee, pumpkin treats, getting to wear jeans and scarves and boots. Gaining an hour of sleep when Daylight Savings kicks in, eventually.
This is Autumn.
I love Autumn because it reminds me that you only love something if you can let it go. In fact, Fall shows us how beautiful it can be to let things go. Death is unnatural and hideous, suffering and pain are intensely unpleasant and grueling. But in the grand scheme of life, the darkness only accentuates the light. The black contrasts with the white, creating a breathtaking masterpiece of chiaroscuro.
In autumn, the world around us slowly dies or lies down in rest. Leaves turn colors and fall from the trees, which remain, standing bare and naked in the chill breeze. Animals gradually accumulate their food stores and find a suitable home for the winter’s hibernation. Fields lie fallow, and the grass grows dormant.
And yet, everything is so beautiful and stunning. Fall has its place. It fits into the circle of the seasons and the earth. It is part of the rhythm of the created order of the universe. Even nature must have her rest.
I’m reminded of a particular passage in Ecclesiastes, whiches reads, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace” (3:1-8).
I love Autumn because it is also a time of intimate community. We have Thanksgiving for starters, where families get together, maybe traveling to an aunt and uncle’s or grandparents’ home to enjoy a sumptuous banquet together. But in general, fall just puts you in a certain mood, an amber mood. Everyone seems more patient, social, and open to relationships during the autumnal season.
Maybe it has to do with Daylight Savings? An extra hour of sleep goes a long way…
In all seriousness, the community we find during fall is unique and special. It’s a season of gratitude, joy, and unity, where everyone and everything delights in the beauty of the created order.
Whether you take a long stroll down some trail with a loved one; visit a local coffee shop with a mentor; traverse a corn maze in the dark with your crazy friends; join your family on a camping trip and sit around the firepit roasting marshmallows and singing campfire songs; or snuggle by a roaring fire, sipping on hot cocoa, with your significant other, fall heightens the cozy, nourishing, caring, and nurturing tendencies in us all.
I love Autumn because it is a season of bounty. Imagine the sprawling golden fields of corn; huge combines gradually plow their way through the stiffening stalks, harvesting the husks. Later, we will enjoy corn on the cob, cornbread, creamed corn, corn muffins, maybe even grits.
Or the heavily laden fruit trees of the apple orchard. Already, fruit lies rotting on the ground, while the branches sage under the burden of even more. No combines tread these sacred grounds, only the human feet. Human hands reach out, gently cup and twist, and an apple drops from the tree into our waiting baskets. These will become delicious snacks, additions to a bowl of warm oatmeal, be baked into a pie, crumble, tart, muffin, waffle or pancake, cake, or perhaps heighten the taste of a juicy pork loin.
From our backyard garden to the roaming acres of a large farm, fall delights in wholeness and fulfillment, in a bounteous provision for all the living creatures who depend upon the earth for sustenance.
Therefore, Autumn is also a time of thanksgiving (another reason why I love fall). With such beauty and abundance and community surrounding us, how can we not help but be grateful?
God has blessed us with multitudinous blessings. The only proper response to such gracious goodness is to open our mouths in praise. We praise God from an overflow and consummation of joy and thankfulness.
“Praise the Lord!Psalm 106:1 ESV
Ohgive thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”
Even those who do not believe in God experience the intense urge to give thanks for life–existence itself–and everything Good, True, and Beautiful thing in our world. In the fall, we cannot escape the sounds of joy, worship, and gratitude. Every rock, river, forest, flower–all nature resounds with cries of wonder and delight in the Creator.
The words of Psalm 19:1-6 perhaps become more poignant during this season than in others (maybe spring):
“The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.”
Those are just four big reasons why I love fall, reasons that encapsulate, for me, many of the smaller joys I find in the season.
Please comment below and let me know what are some of your favorite things about fall!
God bless you all. May you find joy, peace, contentment, and wholeness in this season of life.