Thursday, October 14, 2010

Seasonal Beauty

Autumn is my favorite season! I love everything about it -- the variety of warm and chilly days, the consistently cooler evenings, sweaters, hot drinks, pumpkins, sweet potatoes.... well, you get the picture. But the thing I love most is the breath-taking surprises the trees give. In the midst of the expected greens, yellows, and browns, there will be a glowing red maple that casts rosy light over everything around it. Leaves that appear to be neon orange. Crimson dogwoods. Every year I'm amazed at the beautiful mix of subtlety and boldness in the colors of autumn. The beauty of autumn is different from the beauty of spring - that season of riotous colors from all over the color palette! Autumn's colors are, for the most part, variations on just a few basics.

I was thinking about this today in light of the seasonal beauty of a woman's life. A young woman in the springtime years is energized with possibilities. Having four daughters has allowed me to observe (and remember!) those years of "trying on" different looks and exploring a wide variety of interests. It's an exciting season with a beauty all its own. Then there's summer - that season of sameness, in some respects. Since I live in the South, my experience of summer is one of consistent, and sometimes overwhelming, heat, but there are some of the most gorgeous reflections of light during the summer - a sunrise, sunlight glimmering off a lake or ocean, a sunset in the mountains. The days are intense, much like the early adult years for a woman. If there are young children in the mix, that intensity can be magnified, but the potential for such beauty is there! The beauty of these years comes as we learn to reflect the light of grace in all of our relationships - husband, children, co-workers, parents, and siblings.

Autumn is definitely my season. The intensity is beginning to wane, and things are more focused. I'm enjoying the fruits of many things during this season. I get to see grandchildren being born as well as reap the benefits of years of teaching (getting to spend more time actually enjoying my students as I need less time to research and prep lessons!) My prayer is that, as I go through this season, I'll be a reflection of focused living in Christ - subtle in some ways, surprisingly bold in other ways! As winter approaches, I want to experience the beauty of that season as well. Winter can be stark, but there's a clarity to that starkness and a quietness as things rest. Snow is the most beautiful aspect of winter - a blanket of clean peacefulness that falls over our little part of the world. I want to be that way for those in my life -- peaceful, settled, yet with a clear perspective on life and death that allows both joy in the present and hope for the future.

I pray you'll also enjoy the beauty of the season, both the natural beauty around you as well as the beauty of your season of life.

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