Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Extravagance of a Fall Leaf

The vibrant burnt-orange leaf captures my attention and holds it. I stop in my path, contemplating whether I will pick it up. Around it, other leaves scatter their crimson, auburn, and gold on the pavement. Which one is the most stunning? Having taken the moment to notice this exquisite beauty, I linger. The day quiets around me as I become more and more aware of God’s creation and the holy within it.

I love the fall in the northeast. The riotous colors of autumn leaves never cease to delight me. What an outrageous gift, that God would endow the trees with the ability to surrender their summer growth with such magnificence. “Just look at those trees!” I exclaimed to my daughter as we left the house this morning. “You smile every time you walk out the door these days,” she commented. I hadn’t realized. Now, as I contemplate this single leaf and its place in the divine economy, I think of my own life held in God’s hands. Are not the transitions in human life also evidence of God’s extravagance? “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30) As we cycle through the seasons, as we age, surrender, make new beginnings, we also show forth the beauty of God’s creation. We embody loveliness. The glory of God that shines forth in a fall leaf also emanates from each human being, each of us created in God’s image.

The wind and rain of the day will hurry the leaves off the branches and soon bare twigs will cut patterns across a pale winter sky. I hope I notice that moment too. I pray I will stop then, and give thanks to God. For the beauty of creation, for the rhythm of the seasons, for the gift of time and the experience that comes with aging. For the ability to delight in a single fall leaf, again, and again, and again.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2013