Friday, October 26, 2007
the last days of this autumn
The rain of these last two days is surely bringing down the remaining seasoned leaves of the fall, and I'll be sad. It is my wife's favorite season, but autumn always arouses bittersweet feelings in me. I associate it with the end of summer (fun, vacation, no school) and the beginning of another year of work. However, I find the colors of the leaves as they change and die to be so brilliant--even to my colorblind eyes--that it makes me marvel at creation and contemplate my own place in it in a way that few other aspects of nature do. I think Annie Dillard was onto something when she wrote about the complete unnecessary extravagance of it. I've almost driven off the road several times just trying to take in the views because I know they're so fleeting. One day of gusty wind and we'll be left with nothing but gray twigs against the sky. Just a few weeks ago, however, they were ordinary green trees. I wonder if other drivers are equally as taken aback with it as I am. But then I think: they're just leaves! What's my problem? They'll probably be more dazzling next year, as long as there's not another drought. Changing color like this is what deciduous leaves are supposed to do. Why get caught up in it? It's the extravagance, I think. There is no reason for this beauty. And the temporary nature of it is a large part of what makes it beautiful. Thank you, God. But why is part of me disappointed?
I ran across this poem by Luci Shaw and, although it's subject matter is nature of another season, it struck a chord:
The maple seeds have spent themselves;
their wings lie mute and brown and tattered
along the grass. The peonies
have let their bloodied white be scattered,
and all this windy afternoon
I've grieved as if it really mattered.