This time of year is extraordinary in North Carolina. It is part of what inspired me to move here: a warmer, green place with a gorgeous autumn and little snow? Sold! Add in an awesome church and it was a very easy decision.
Bright oranges, reds, and yellows fill the wide sky until they suddenly fall to the ground. The hazy days give way to beautiful bursting sunsets and the moon is full of a harvest promise.
As surely as it is a time of beauty it is also a time of paradox: set apart as a season of remembering as well as letting go; of mourning as well as celebrating. If by chance you feel pulled in many directions, then perhaps you have well embraced the spirit of this season.
This fall invites us into a vivid rendering of the cycles of life. Vibrant rich greens fade into brilliant colors that are released to the earth far too quickly. The coldness of night hits us suddenly and we remark, “Wow fall is really here!” It is an invitation to connect our souls again with the earth and to listen for tender truths tucked away in books that go untouched in summer, underneath leaves that hide the dying grass, and behind the starker silhouettes.
It’s amazing how our own lives follow nature’s rhythm. We depend upon the earth. Even with all of our progress, we still must change dress and habit to protect our fragile bodies, as it gets colder. If we were living even a hundred years ago, we would have been much more attuned to the changing seasons. Now with global transportation, we notice little change in the grocery store products or our eating habits. Well, except for the appearance of the pumpkin spiced latte and the delightful parade of pumpkinanized products! Even as our food may not change, we can’t deny the changing light, the colder temperature, and the color all around.
If we are wise recipients of creation, we pause in this time of year to listen to the ancient truths. We remind our bodies to slow down and to remember those who have gone before. We cannot set the pace for this remembering. Eventually, some gratitude is kindled within us. It is a gratitude for the long line of creation that has made our living possible. And then, nature invites us to let go of what we cannot hold and cannot control. The colors fade, the leaves decompose and earth returns to earth. We are aware that life is brief and fragile. Joy and a tender sadness can touch us this time of year.
At last as this season closes just before the dawn of winter, nature bids us to consider how we can give back in this season of harvest, of how our lives in the cycle of life continue the great circle. The time is short before the earth freezes and seeds cannot be planted any more for next year. The time is short; we see, for own lives to find the points where something greater may be planted, a harvest for those who follow.
I am grateful friends to be following the wheel of the year with you. Peace and compassion around you in this beautiful, tumultuous time of year.
Blessings of harvest,