The Miracle of Autumn

If summer is your favorite time of year and you dread the upcoming winter – you may want to stop reading here — or you might want to read on for hope.  Slowly, gradually, the sunny days of summer (despite the COVID-19 pandemic) are fading into the vicissitudes of autumn.

Gradually, the shades of lime green, forest green, spring green and emerald green, fern and shamrock green in the canopy of leaves above are transforming.  The leaves look increasingly yellow and golden in the sunlight, with splotches of red and orange.  Brown leaves drift down to caress the tired lemon and beige leaves of hostas and the burgundy and bright yellow chrysanthemum blooms.  Pumpkins and mums are replacing summer bouquets.  Evenings bring the constant hum of cicadas and grasshoppers. And perfectly cool, crisp air now wafts through open windows as we fall asleep.

The miracle of autumn is here.  The changes are visible and beautiful – it is up to us to take the time to notice.  Peering over our masks, we can see a sea of color that wasn’t there a month ago.  We hear leaves rustle with a new tone.  Brown, dead leaves begin to crunch under our feet, softly, a few at a time.  This is creation witnessing to the power of rest — and death – only to make room for new life that seems so far away.

I am tired.  I feel like the leaves ceding their greens and falling to the ground. I’m tired of social distancing and masks.  I’m tired of conspiracy theories and polarization. I’m tired of injustice, racism, sexism, and all the other “isms.”  My spirit is ready for a change.  And to see that change and bear witness to it, I must take some time away from my busyness, from my everyday tasks and chores.  I want to experience the songs of the cicadas, the lengthening shadows as the sunrise and sunset inch further south toward the equator. I want to bathe in the brilliant colors of the Japanese maple trees as the leaves become brilliant reds and oranges.  I want to remember that rest is a part of the rhythm of life; to embrace the truth that death is inextricably tied to life and that everyday matters.  And I want to remember that death is not the final word – that life once more will spring forth.

In Jewish and Christian Scriptures, there is a story of Moses viewing a miracle – a bush that did not burn up (Exodus 3:3).  The burning bush caught his eye: “I will now turn aside and see this great sight” (KJV). May I also take the time to turn aside and see the great sights around me. May we all rest and do the same.  The miracles are all around us, calling our names.  Let us wonder in the change that surrounds us and allow creation to bring us new life.

Carol Pitts, PhD, LPC, LMFT, CPCS, is Clinical Director for CHRIS Counseling Center- DeKalb. She can be reached at carol.pitts@chris180.org.

Carol Pitts, PhD, LPC, LMFT, CPCS
carol.pitts@CHRIS180.org
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