Today was one of those glorious autumn days: 60 degrees, zero humidity, and a clear blue sky that contrasted the glorious red, orange, and yellow of fall’s changing leaves. As we were driving home after running a few errands, Sunny and I commented to one another about the beautiful hues on display through the autumn season. This is truly my favorite time of year.
And I started thinking about the irony of all this beauty that comes from dying foliage. They say that the leaves change color as the trees enter into a natural state of rest in the winter, when light and water limits the process of photosynthesis. As chlorophyll production decreases, leaves lose their green color and a more diverse color pallet appears, colors that were always present but were merely overwhelmed by chlorophyll’s green tint. These colors are never seen until the life force of chlorophyll goes dormant.
Basically, the leaves die.
And that got me to thinking how we see beauty in this death. Year in and year out, the trees reach their inevitable season of rest and we see the glorious flourishing of what was always there, innate “true colors” shining through in the most critical hour.
Can the tree be faulted for understanding this season as a final repose?
Does the tree possess an awareness of the beauty that presages the oncoming season of rest?
Can the tree possibly be aware of the glory that awaits on the other side of winter’s harsh darkness?
Of course not.
These are trees we’re talking about, right?
As we enter the final months of 2013, I can’t help but reflect on what has been a difficult year for me personally. I suppose it’s an indicator of where my mind has been lately that a Saturday afternoon drive leads to a blog post about death and resurrection.
But these falling leaves testify to what I hope to be true, portents of a deeper reality that transcends our present circumstances.
And I remind myself that spring is just around the corner.
He is like a tree Planted by streams of water That yields its fruit in its season, And its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. — Psalm 1:3