A Change of Season
October in Pennsylvania is such a picturesque time of year. Everywhere you look, the harvest colors of rust, orange, goldenrod, and brown paint the neighborhoods, walkways, and mountains. The air seems cleaner, a bit crisper, a welcome bit of freshness. The changing colors of the leaves, shorter days, and cooler nights all serve to help us fully embrace the autumn season.
So many people make special trips to view the magnificent colors of this time of year. There are dedicated train rides in the town of Jim Thorpe and excursions to the mountains in the Poconos. The natural beauty that dots the mountainside are breathtaking and sought after. We celebrate the fall season by capturing dying leaves and barren stems. These are staples in “welcome fall” decorations, door wreaths, and a myriad of seasonal home decor. But they signify much more than pretty colors on a door or a change of wall scenery.
Yesterday, my husband and I had the privilege of being part of a fall wedding. The bride and the groom both love the outdoors so they had their wedding outside at a state park. What a canvas of colorful foliage to serve as a backdrop to their union!
The bride was stunning in her long, floor-length, white wedding gown. As she walked with her proud and smiling father, and made her way to her awaiting groom, the bottom of her dress began to fill with the fallen leaves that were captured along her path. Standing with her other half, the bottom of her dress array with nature’s fingerprints, she looked like a spring blossom emerging from the leafy blankets of winter’s slumber.
As we stood in the forest clearing witnessing two loving hearts exchanging vows, we also witnessed the birth of a new union - the end of one season leading to the beginning of a new chapter. In order for something new to begin, there must be the death of something else. The shedding of old makes way for the expectant seed to begin to grow. The vibrancy of life couldn’t continue without this seeming death. It is an end, yes. But all of life is on a continuum leading from one point to another on a never-ending road.
I often wonder why God created the world as He did: the changing seasons, plants blooming and then dying - some returning the following year, many just with us for a short time, the specific times of sowing and reaping... Could it be that these visible changes that surround us so intentionally are so we can hear His voice wherever we go? Seeing the changes remind us of His loving presence and how He is interactive in our lives. The laws of nature at work serve to remind us of a beginning after an end, of a hope in a new tomorrow after the end of today.
This isn’t a celebration of an ending - it is recognizing the beauty of the moment and the inherent expectation of what is to come.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-7 (NASB)
“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven - A time to give birth and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted... A time to mourn and a time to dance... a time to tear apart and a time to sew together...”
One moment gives way to another and another and life goes on. There is beauty in the fallen leaves - both for what they are and for the next moment they represent.
As the wedding displayed so perfectly, surrounded by the end of one stage of life, it was a ceremony to usher in the next. When the leaves start to fall, remember what was, enjoy what is, and anticipate the beauty of the next season.