I notice the difference changing as soon as the light starts shadowing differently through the trees at dusk in August. Autumn has a very distinct identification to it that is rhythmic and soothing to my soul.
The daylight of summer begins to fade faster, the lush green leaves begin changing color, making the trees in New England look like a beautiful collage painting of red, orange, and yellow. Autumn shows me that another year has passed and new beginnings are just on the horizon. Communal fires are no longer distinguishable by shorts, warm weather, and mosquitoes, but are now manifested by the smell of burning wood in the cool air, laughter, vests, flannels, and jeans.
I suppose it’s like this for any season that has the capacity to bring about change.
In my life, it was always the clear start of a new academic year. There were always new goals to set, something new to try, all within places that were comfortable. Two years ago, autumn was marked by the beginning of a yearlong journey across the world, and the beginning of a huge change in the way I began to see life. Last year, autumn was the start of a new season in the messy process of reentry, taking all that I had learned abroad and yearning to make it come to life in the midst of the mundane that can easily take hold in America.
Autumn, consistently marked by a routine of change and newness is no different this year as the shock of reentry has settled and I’ve found my place at home in my New England corner. This year, however, rather than being marked by the big changes, I find myself realigning my heart to Jesus inside the mundane everydayness of consistent ticking time and in-between. This year, I am choosing to stay. Rather than seeking chaos, I find that I am remaining satisfied and at peace longer as life comes and goes in its very natural flow.
When I think of autumn and the change it brings, I immediately find myself thinking of Jesus and all the times He had to keep standing in the midst of rising tides. He daily walked alongside His people and taught something new every day. He carried His cross up the mountain with everyone watching. He lived His life alongside us, knowing His fate and purpose of being hung on the cross. He was placed in the grave and resurrected again. I look at Jesus’s life and see a clear steadiness, mundane moments that often give our very own lives time to heal. For me, these moments just happen to be highlighted in autumn.
I think about tapping into trees for naturally made maple syrup and those donuts that mark the ending of a solid day of apple picking; breakfast, the smell of pumpkin spice coffee permeating the air at local coffee shops. I think about the meaning and significance of meals and how Jesus communed with His people. Whether it was on the beach, saying “come and eat breakfast with me” or sitting at a table where all were welcomed… There is weight in that exchange that I cannot ignore. Autumn reminds me of the truth that no moment is “just another moment,” every second is powerful and has the capacity to solicit a small shifting in paradigm.
I look at fall as more than just the change in coffee flavors, leaves, and other notable things that we all love. Autumn is like the beat of a heart to me, precious and full of life. I think that autumn brings a representation of the joy that comes with a natural flow, communion with people, and the turning of a new page. It’s the beginning of a beautiful wait. It leads into the recognition of gratitude and thanksgiving once November arrives.
Gratitude is something that’s been magnified to a very large degree in the past year of my life, it’s a gift I have that I highly attribute to the Giver. I’ll find myself speechless as I drive around my New Hampshire homestead, grateful for where I have been, where I am, and where I’m headed, as each play such a significant role in who I am. I don’t know what else to feel as I sit in-between the threshold of what’s good and what is promised.
Standing between is a lot like looking out an open window, smelling the cool breeze mixed with warm apple pie in the oven, watching fiery colored leaves scatter the ground like memories of the past and hopeful longings for the future. The rhythm of autumn unmistakably arrives every year, palpable in the very air I breathe.
A leaf will fall, the lighting outside will change, children head back to school, maple tree acorns will line neighborhood streets, and schedules inevitably pick up and become busy again. But Jesus will sweetly whisper “come away with me,” reminding me of the importance it is to yield to Him in the steady and constant flow that every season we encounter brings.