Spicy cinnamon scents of the season nearly shame us into draping our being and abode in orange, brown, and moody maroon. Nervous breezes tease the leaves taunting them to hold tight while they still have a chance.
What is it about October that keeps many straddled on the fence of melancholy and mirthful? (Jolly, carefree, cheerful, festive, frolicsome…so many good ones, but mirthful begins with an “M”, plus, it is equally fun to say!) I don’t know, for me, October has always been the lead into November third, the death of my sister Andrea. When the air begins to cool and that little rush of wind brushes over my face, time stops. For a few moments, my forty-eight-year-old mind rewinds to when I was nineteen. The phone call, “Honey, its Mom. Andrea’s been in a terrible accident, you need to come to the hospital right away!” (The first seven chapters of my book map out every nook and cranny of knowledge, emotion, and perspective on this subject so I must stop here. I do hope you’ll get the book when it becomes available.) So, there is that. Now, the heaviness of the season is concentrated on October sixth, the death date of my mother. I want to be a big girl and say something like, “home-going” or “Heavenly birthday”, but sometimes it’s okay to be transparent and just hurt.
Oh dear, here she goes, she’s gonna do it. She is really gonna quote Barry Manilow…
And when October goes, the same old dream appears
And you are in my arms, to share the happy years
I turn my head away to hide the helpless tears
Oh, how I hate to see October go
We sang this song in my high school choral group and now every October I watch the leaves on the trees sway and clap while applauding the moments, happy or sad. Tripping and falling all over the words, I sing the song anyway, eventually landing on, “Oh, how I hate to see October go”.
It’s the consistency of their story, the lifecycle of the leaves, which makes it all okay. Little springtime emerald buds unfold with the anticipation of really putting on a show. Brilliant in season, providing shade and purifying the world. And then, just before October goes, with a twist of the wrist, we are immersed in a kaleidoscope of color. Brilliant orange, red, pink, and yellow, nature’s magic show. Overnight artwork. Quite a painter He is!
Where did the colors come from? Green to red, not possible. Green to pink, even more not possibly-er (I know! I have no editor on the blog so I do what I want…☺) Yes, the green is pretty for the first few weeks, then we get used to them and they become just, well, ordinary, hum-drum, every day leaves.
Turns out, beauty is found in the process of withholding.
When October goes the amount of daylight grows shorter, as it relates to the autumnal equinox. This causes a chemical change in the leaf, which in short, causes the flow of water up through the trunk and into the veins of the leaf to cease and then, BAM! The green pigment, chlorophyll, deprived of need, fades away and then our eyes feast on a visual symphony of autumn’s finest color palette.
It’s in the withholding.
The reigns are pulled back on sunlight. The water is blocked and turned away at the gate.
Withholding is necessary to morph the mundane into something mesmerizing and beautiful.
So often I wonder, what is the withholding in our lives which is planned and intended for our good? God is God in the winter, spring, summer, and fall of our lives. (Here, I will refrain from quoting James Taylor.) He is God in every season. Temperatures and temperaments change, yet God is unchanging. At nineteen I discovered a wonderful truth about life. God is ALWAYS in the know and ALWAYS in control. This knowledge has been my security and peace. He brings rain in season and even has a reason for the snow. (What? Yes, Papaw, snow is good!) Even in the midst of the chilly night of despair and fear, we discover the most amazing snowflakes and diamonds dripping from trees. There is beauty in the frozen tundra of life. Beauty reserved and waiting to be discovered in those places.
“He has made EVERYTHING beautiful in its time.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11
The leaves, they bud, and bloom. Flourish and fascinate. They rain upon the earth and nourish the foundation to begin again and again and again.
Oh yeah, the color? It was within the leaf the whole time! The green pigment kept it hidden until its big reveal.
Something beautiful is about to happen. Trust the process. Wait for it!
(“You’ve Got a Friend”) ☺