Life has seasons as surely as nature. It’s a story told throughout history since Noah’s flood receded. I must have been in a pondering mood this past week since I reflected on these comparisons.
I spent a good part of this beautiful fall week driving places and it was a chance to watch farmers in the fields, the trees turning and yards full of harvest decorations. At one four way stop, a gust of wind brought a whirling of gold leaves all over us. As a group of drivers, we looked up and all of us broke into a laugh at the same time. We had been awed and we knew it showed on our faces.
I’m enamored with fields in the process of being harvested. Be it a huge flat expanse or terraced and hilly. It’s akin to a beautiful painting, the proportions, the colors and the story.
I’m not close to the first to expand on nature’s seasons as a parallel to the human lifetime. My little analogy is:
Fall, for me, compares to the age when our bodies are slowing. It’s how we visualized grandma and grandpa. It’s perhaps, where we look down at our own hands and see skin no longer soft and unblemished.
As a leaf, our hands show if the summer has been kind to us. This year’s leaves on many trees have little blemishes reflecting the huge population of Japanese Beetles. The early rains and then the summer drought have caused the beautiful fall colors we so love in the Midwest. The bark on our old walnut shows where it was struck with lightning.
Our hands reflect the amount of work we’ve done, scrapes and scars. Misshapen, perhaps, by an accident. Spots from too much sun, whether from gardening, farming or sports.
Like the leaves, our skin no longer is soft as it changes from summer to winter. It is more easily damaged as it becomes more fragile.
Some folks mourn the loss of youth during the fall season of their life. I don’t. I look at my friends, family and myself in this phase and celebrate resilience, the stunning fall beauty and know that life has shaped us to be perfect at this time in life.
Society tends to worship all that is young and supple. It’s a never ending focus and source of worry, not to mention the billions of dollars spent to keep us all young.
I would hate to think of my maple trees green all year. Or, our woods full of five foot catalpa trees never growing into the stately fifty foot beauties. No branches or trunks reflecting the effects of wind, lightening, pests and disease. I’d hate to think I had trees where bird or wildlife would be afraid to snuggle into the branches to have their babies or seek shelter from storms.
It’s the same with the human race. I’d rather be around someone whose veneer shows they have lived life. The wrinkles from laughing, the movements from years of doing something productive, and having a lap and arms where children come for snuggles and shelter.
I’ve heard more than one person lament, “I love the fall but hate the coming winter.” Just remember our spring would not be so wonderful or appreciated had we not gone through the seasons to come out on the other side of winter.
As we look at our “elders” or as we look at our own hands, honor and celebrate the seasons that brought them to this place. Take time this fall to enjoy this beautiful season of the year.
“Ere, in the northern gale,
The summer tresses of the trees are gone,
The woods of autumn, all around our vale,
Have put their glory on."
William Cullen Bryant