The changing of a season can provide comfort or enthusiasm, or a sense of dread and ill-prepared temperament. In some moments, the languid heat of summer is a welcome respite from spring’s fresh awareness, sudden bloom, or muddy and saturated moments. Those summery, heat-filled afternoons are spent lounging in the shade with iced drinks or frozen popsicles, an altered schedule, the ability for childhood dreams to swarm the mind and allure toward outdoor enjoyment. Summers of swimming, dressing as princesses, or snuggling sisters, allowing opportunity for setting aside school books for thrilling adventure novels.
One can feel the next season approaching as God’s hand etches the patterns of the sky with a fresh, new palette, or with a remembered autumn coloring suddenly recalled. Perhaps the manner of fluttering leaves, twirling and spinning, reminds the weary summer traveler of a nearing change of season. The green grasses of summer offer a stark backdrop to the sky, and eventually fade into orange and crimson, golden hues and amber crisps of leaves. These seasons can be welcomed and relished, with thankfulness for God’s boundaries of time and space, heartened to spend summer afternoons with loved ones.
I remember summers ancient in my mind, in my youth, entranced by the Pacific ocean’s fresh salty splashes and predictable, mesmerizing movement, tiny feet hiding, eager faces peering into sandy tide pools, searching for yellow stars, purple urchins or round creamy sand dollars. Some memories offer warmth and innocence, a peace from a cluttered life.
As autumn gathers near and fog approaches, as darkness increases, or any particular uncertainty, some gather around steaming bowls of soup, comforting fireplaces, knitted sweaters or solitude. Others venture forth into the altered air, breathing deeply, living fully, while gathering remnants of colorful leaves to press between pages in a book. The sunshine will continue to offer a daily reminder of seasons and as light shifts and golden hues intensify, one recognizes the sparkle of the world through each season, even the glittery narrative of snow muffling sounds and concerns, resetting the priorities of the day. The frozen stretch of months will soon arrive, and in that time, the change will be welcomed.
But for this moment, I am taking a leisurely crisp autumn walk around a yellow, leafy park. Nutty scents of acorns and dampened earth, a brisk breeze guides me forward. The sunlight has become golden, light and shadow filtering through fluttering, dancing leaves. With colors of stark yellow ginger, burnt oranges and shrubbery of fiery reds, maroon, burgundy around deep brown earth. Pine trees jet out with rugged, rocky crags for branches, and at the trunks are small crevices, for creatures. The aspen trees are lined up orderly, with their white trunks close together and bunched as a herd. The path is littered with scattered leaves and underbrush, and at the edges of the lane are late summer flowers almost fading in autumn’s chill. Bright, stark blue sky serves as a backdrop for the magnificent yellow quaking aspen leaves, which click and flutter in the delicate fresh breeze, sounding like soft applause. These leaves will also take the brief journey to the rich soil in the season’s first crystal chill of white, puffy snow. Yet for this fleeting moment, the air is comfortable, the sky brilliant, and leaves welcome all those seeking an escape. An intimate veil, a chapel of trees overhead, draws me forward into the unknown. I am set apart from – and connected to – this moment.