Though the stores seem to have catapulted from Halloween to Christmas, God does not appear to be done with autumn just yet. Admittedly, here in the southeast we tend to mix our Christmas reds and greens with leftover fall browns and yellows, because our peak colors just don’t begin or end as early as in some parts of the world.
This week of Thanksgiving is dressed in extravagantcolors. While we may not have the widevistas of color that adorn the mountains, every turn in the road adds a new popof orange or red or yellow. My eyes haveabsorbed the beauty of the changing crepe myrtles and hickory trees anddogwoods and maples, and the vines that meander through the woods like ribbonsof yellow, and I still relish each new burst of autumn glory that I see. The sights are truly glorious!
The life story of a leaf from a deciduous tree is incredibly short. Breaking forth as a bud in the spring, it quickly grows into a bright green leaf. Science tells us that the green color is the result of the chlorophyll that helps the leaf transform sunlight into food for the tree. Throughout the summer light is abundant, and the leaf remains green as it continues to do its job for the tree.
In the fall, however, light begins to lessen as the days grow shorter. The chlorophyll production is reduced, which causes the green pigment to decrease as well. Now the other pigments in the leaf are visible, and we begin to see the yellows and oranges of autumn. In some trees new pigments appear, and we see them as purple or red.
Soon the leaf falls from the tree to become part of the mulch that will foster new life in the spring. This is the bane of those gardeners who like to maintain clean lawns!
What a wonder! Thoughshort, the life cycle of the leaf plays an important part in our world.
I find it interesting that the leaf, in its last throes of life, bursts forth in brilliant, indescribable color. The rainy, gray skies of the waning year serve to accentuate the artistry. Like competitors in a beauty pageant, each leaf seems intent on outshining the others, and I cannot help but smile each time I encounter their display.
Having reached my seventh decade (read that carefully – it doesn’tsay that I am seventy), I realize that I am in the autumn of my life. As I think on that, I find great comfort inthe leaves. If they can display theirbrightest colors just before they fall, I can still add beauty and kindness tothis world as well. Rather than seeingthis time as a time of fading, I choose to see it as a grand finale of jubilantpraise to God. I want these years of my life to be as spectacular andencouraging and joyous as the autumn colors that brighten the roads that Itravel.
In the words of Robert Browning,
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”
Psalm 30:12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.
I Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 16:31 The hoary (ancient or white) head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.