During my childhood, I was in wonder that the green trees would change into a kaleidoscope of multi-faceted colors in fall. The once verdant leaves began to change with the cooling weather. It was like watching a master artist’s brush painting a fall picture in layered colors--much like an impressionistic artist’s work. I’m still in awe! And as the cool weather changes the landscape with delightful colors of fall this year, I find that childlike wonder again.
Here in the South or more specifically, Arkansas, nature is coming alive in vibrant colors again.
Oak trees, once a striking green are now a fiery red, deep orange or rustic russet, as their abundance of acorns bloom too in order to feed nature’s animals. Pear trees with their verdant canopy began to turn a velvety red or even beautiful shades of auburn and magenta glistening in the sunlight. Sugar Maple trees with their gray-black branches peek through a haze of golden yellow and burnt orange leaves leaving you breathless with wonder. Dogwoods’ leaves turn into a mix of burgundy and eggplant so rich, it’s a feast for the eyes, sprouting bright red berries to feed the birds. Sassafras trees, with their mitten-shaped leaves turn a variety of colors from scarlet and purple to deep orange and yellow. Red Oak trees unfurl their crimson leaves like flags waving in the wind. Hickory trees that grow tall and resplendent change their foliage into varying shades of brilliant yellows as though kissed by the sun, to bright oranges or golden browns.
A variety of trees can change into neon greens to subtle celadons with varying shades of green or citron colors sharp and invigorating. No matter the tree, the lessening sunlight of fall and cooler temperatures signal the trees to stop producing the chlorophyll that makes the leaves green. And depending on the temperature and rain, you never know how vibrant the colors will be for fall.
As a child, I loved to collect different leaves hoping to hang onto the changing season of fall-- sometimes making collages or pressing the leaves between sheets of waxed paper. And as my parents raked falling leaves into large piles to bag up or burn, it was fun to play in the mountain of leaves with my siblings. As children, we’d dive into the piles making magical memories and inventing games from our imagination.
As an adult, I loved traveling to Boston, my husband’s childhood city, and driving through different towns and counties taking in the indescribable beauty of the fall foliage. The same is true now here in Arkansas with its many rolling hills, valleys, and forests filled with a display of tress and their beauty in the fall. I still love to take those fall drives in search of a farmer’s market or a fruit stand and to some small-town destination just to enjoy the changing landscape.
As trees change their glory from summer to fall, I wonder what changes God has in store for each of our lives. Rather than cling too tightly to a season of life, can we let go and trust God as He ushers in a new season--literally and spiritually? Can we discard the old to embrace the new? Can we allow God to bring about the change we desire and to enter a new season He has for us? And like falling leaves, can we let God blow through our lives and remove things that He wants to replace with something new? For some it’s a breathless wonder at the change. For others, it can stir fear and insecurity at the uncertainty of the future. Regardless, do not to despair: for there’s always beauty to be found even in the change. Just look at nature if you’re doubting God’s goodness. And get outside and enjoy His beauty and maybe play in some leaves for a while…
Look at nature and see My beauty displayed all around for you to enjoy. Fall is a new season and signals change. I know change for you can be scary, but cling to My hand and trust My heart and good intentions for you. Abandon yourself to My goodness like a child simply playing and enjoying the delights of creation. As you raise your eyes to the vast beauty displayed all around you in My creation, simply feel My radiant Presence on you like a kiss--like the golden sunrays shining on you. You are My beloved and I delight in you just as you delight in Me and My creation.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)