There’s something about October that draws me outside to sit in silence in my yard. Especially when the leaves begin in earnest to turn their maroons and golds and reds and oranges and browns.
And there’s something about a Sunday, with its Sabbath quiet, that draws me even deeper.
Maybe it’s because I know that soon it will be too cold to sit in the yard.
Maybe it’s because I know that the colorful leaves only have two more weeks or less before they let go and fall to become compost and soil.
And maybe it’s because I know that, at age 56 (almost 57), that I likely don’t have a that many more falls to embrace.
I know that I’m more than halfway to death.
That there will be a fall in which the trees turn their vivid autumn colors – and I won’t be on this earth to enjoy them.
Autumn is a gentle reminder of death.
It reminds me that my days are numbered, that they aren’t eternal, that one day I’ll be a memory (one, I hope, of color) to those still living.
There’s a poignancy to our limited time on earth. A bittersweetness that wouldn’t exist if we lived forever.
So on this cloudy Sabbath I sit under the turning maple, mug of coffee at my scarred elbow where the skin cancer was cut off two weeks ago, listening to the plaintive call of the autumn leaf excursion train.
And I give thanks.
For what is. Maroon dogwoods, light green and yellowish sassafras, beginning orange maple, and Cohutta Wilderness mountains a dusty blue on the horizon.
So much beauty it makes me ache.
I breathe in the chilling air. And I breathe out gratitude.
Because I have now, this autumn . . . with all the beauty it brings.