Fall has finally exploded in all its splendor in my neck of the woods. I was out for a drive earlier this week and was utterly amazed by the spectacle before me!
As I was taking in all of the beauty of the late fall afternoon, I started thinking about some of the things that bring beauty to the fall.
The first thing that struck me was that the beauty of fall is greatly multiplied because of the variety of trees. I live in an area where there are all kinds of trees growing together in the wooded areas. You'll find pines, maples, oaks, and many others all growing together. Which means that there is green and red and orange and yellow and brown all peaking around each other, striving to be seen. Fall is beautiful in a grove of aspen or oak forest, but how spectacular when they are all mixed together. Just as beauty in nature is compounded by the mix and the blend of different trees, there is beauty in the variety of human nature as well. Sometimes we think that we are better off when we stick to "our world" full of people who are just like us, but I know that when I branch out of that standard, I find that a world full of a variety of people is just as spectacular as a world full of a variety of trees. Sometimes we have to work things out when we have a group full of different types of people, but the trees are in competition with each other sometimes, too.
Another observation I made about the fall foliage this week is that because the trees are starting to thin out it creates more variety in the coloring of the forests. The leaves are falling from the trees and there is color everywhere! Not only does the variety of color spread to the ground, but because there are fewer leaves, it is easier to see the next tree and even the next.
It would be absurd to think that because a tree was missing some leaves that it was broken or incomplete or wrong, but as people we tend to look at ourselves and our "flaws" and see ourselves in just this way. I have learned a lot over the past year about seasons and balance and about rest and restoration. Just like these beautiful trees, we all go through seasons where our branches feel bare and we feel exposed to the world, but as nature teaches us, it is natural to loose our leaves. It is natural to have bare branches. And it is okay to wind down and take a break every so often. The last lesson I learned from fall this week is that change is beautiful! Sometimes change can be hard and feel difficult, but it is often the hardest when we fight against it and expect that things will always be the way they are. I think one of the most amazing lessons from the seasons is that we can let go, embrace the changes, and (usually sooner than we think possible) return to the point where we are again. Just like we can count on fall being here again next year, we can count on another season of harvest in our lives, or another season of planting, or exponential growth. Whatever we are holding on to, we can let go of it and watch it return to us in its right time and season.
During this season of gratitude and thanksgiving, I am thankful for the beauty of the world and the lessons it teaches.