No matter what I call it, I know that each day, in my part of the world, there is something new to see, to appreciate, to celebrate. On my morning walk around the neighborhood today, I kept stopping to look, to notice, to marvel.
Whether it was the fallen birch leaves by my aunt's house,
the newly reddening maples in my front yard,
the magnificent sugar maple up the street,
a 'Silver Dust' with its yellow flowers,
an eastern white pine's yellowing needles,
the large pods on a trumpet creeper,
Queen Anne's Lace all curled up,
a first, perfect fallen red maple,
the berries on a Canada Yew,
the detail on this evergreen that's turning brown (a cypress?),
keys (helicopters!) on a Japanese maple,
a neighbor's crepe myrtles,
or the yellow mums on my front porch, they each have a beauty of their own.
I'm reading Edwin Way Teale's "Autumn Across America," a book that describes the trip taken by Edwin and his wife Nellie across the country and into the fall. The caption below the title says, "A naturalist's record of a 20,000-mile journey through the North American Autumn, with photographs by the author." The four books in "The American Seasons" series were written after their only son David's death in World War II, and this volume, like the others, is "Dedicated to David, who traveled with us in our hearts."
(There needs to be a pause right there, to honor that sacrifice, and try to grasp that deep loss. David traveled in the hearts of his grieving parents, as they went through time and place, seeing, learning, noticing, preserving. The legacy of that sorrow sits by my bedside, and fills my own heart with their words and descriptions.)
Early in chapter one, Teale writes, "There is a midsummer. There is a midwinter. But there is no midspring or midautumn. These are the seasons of constant change. Like dawn and dusk they are periods of transition. But like night and day and day and night they merge slowly, gradually."
I notice the changes - from the top of my street all the way to our house at the bottom, from my town over to the next, or from a nearby urban spot one way to the nearby northwest wooded mountains the other. I know that it won't be long before the still-green Norway maple and pin oak and Bradford pears on my road will change into their fall colors. I don't want to miss it, to waste seeing what is here.
Constant change, yet gradual transition. I see that in my daily vistas, and in my daily life. There are changes there, too - changes that give me joy and hope and peace, and changes that cause concern and a sense of dread. But - I have one who travels with me, too, through time and place, into this season and on into the next. The One who made the world, the order of the seasons, and the beauty within each small part on my little street - the One who thought this all up (imagine!) - that One who did all this is with me, and He is so very safe to trust.
Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.