Here it is again. The familiar view. Grey skies, a damp mist weighting down yellow leaves. The stillness of a dying landscape awaiting the blanket of snow to come...
The flocks of geese have gone, drawn southward by instinct. The burrowers have stocked their holes with seeds, bears are gorging on the last vestiges of summer berries and heading to familiar dens for a long sleep as winter fast approaches. The beautiful red salmon have died off after depositing their eggs in our valley streams.
It is Autumn.
My windows have seen it all come and go. The sun has risen from every pane as the seasons came and went; joyous daffodils welcomed the spring; mating birds danced their rituals among the branches of budding birch trees. I saw the grass grow it seemed like an inch an hour as the long summer days baked everything with sublime energy. My roses "rose" to the occasion and filled the air with a heavenly fragrance. Sweet peas the same. What an orchestrated panorama of joy God unfolded for my eyes over these past months!
But now it is Autumn. Change has come.
There is a certain sadness about it. Many people run from this time of year and flee like the ducks to a warmer place where things never seem to die. But that is only an illusion--to escape the necessity of change.
I once moved to a coastal city where the temperatures never varied, and there weather was always constant and I could luxuriate in sunshine year around. But somehow, I soon got homesick--for change. I wanted to hear the sound of thunder, feel the crisp air of an autumn day--to see leaves fall, to watch a whisp of a snowflake spiral downward. It was not long before I left the palm trees and sandy beaches...I wonder why, yet I think I know.
Over these many years of living on this planet, changes were like reading another chapter of a good book; they thrust me forward from the closure of one to the anticipation of another--ever waiting for the final words and a turning over of the cover.
Yesterday, the covers of a good book closed--as death took away a dear friend. Doubtless, I will re-read the book of her life many times over and over again in my mind, but I know the last chapter of her book has been written and finished. Yet it will lie in my mental library for as long as I myself live out the chapters of my own, still being composed. She became part of mine while living hers, by integrating her life among my memories.
But Autumn has ended for her. Where she abides today, there is no more death or dying. Change does not exist. All is alive--for hope is no longer necessary. It has become a reality.
Me? I still live where changes ebb and flow like tidal waves. Some are good, but I cannot say that I love them all--for they are upsetting at times and destroy the delight of the moment and times spent together with loved ones and friends. Here on this earth, I long for some things to never change--and yet, mysteriously, I long for change too.
The shallow creeks, the water lilies, the shrubs of willows and tall saplings know more than we do sometimes---without change there is no necessity for hope. To give forth a seed, to store up the life in a bulb, to capture the strength of a stately tree--change must come. It must be embraced; not with dread and sorrow that things seemingly die off, but that in dying--hope for tomorrow is born. For hope is the essence of life itself. It is God's greatest gift to you and me.
If I can see beyond the pain that changes sometime bring--I will also see, like nature itself, the joys that await me, come next spring...
MARY E. ADAMS
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