The following article by David Strange was originally published on 11 Oct 2015. It is archived here for your reading enjoyment.
As I write this column today, sitting at my desk in my Peaceful Valley home, the first cool, drizzling rains of autumn are coming down. I can hear the little hollow thuds of raindrops striking leaves already fallen on the ground; the tap, tap, tap of the light rain rippling along the gutters and dripping down the spouts.
One senses that the wind has turned. A first slightest hint of a chill is in the air.
Most of the beautiful, colorful song birds of summer have suddenly disappeared. The birds that remain, along with the squirrels and raccoons quietly, intently prepare, storing up reserves for the long winter nap. Work is nearly done. Harvest is complete.
Fall is one of my four favorite seasons.
Over the course of a year, the bright colors of spring are replaced by the greens and browns of summer, and in turn are replaced by the golden hues of fall. Spring comes on strong, storms energetically declaring "I am here!" Fall eases gently upon us, being among us almost before we are aware. But I notice, always looking for that first long cool rain. Better than any calendar date, those first rains of fall are the best time for setting the last plants of summer. Every gardener knows that it's good to get plants in the ground in time for those rains, those long gentle rains, to tenderly tuck them in for their long winter nap, soaking and setting the roots with all of Nature's own goodness.
These annual refreshing fall rains mark the season as it replenishes life from the summer and puts things to rest for the coming winter. Of course, we also know that these same October rains often lead quickly to first frosts as well. Oh, there will be an "Indian Summer," a brief period of warmth that got its name for being that last surge of summer in which Native Americans could go on one last hunt or get back to home before settling in for the wintry weather ahead. There will be warm days of golden sunlight, but the clouds of winter will follow close behind.
Yet, to me, fall does not symbolize death, as some imagine, but rest; peaceful, glorious rest. My personal religious beliefs teach that when one dies, he goes to sleep; a deep unknowing sleep until Resurrection Day, much like fall, winter, and spring. "So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep." (Job 14:12; John 11:11-15)
So I welcome fall. It has come in its accustomed peace. Spring comes in storm and energy, ready to get going and take on the coming summer. Fall comes with a sigh. It seems to say, "Rest now. Your work is over." Memories of hayrides, pumpkins, warm hearths and warm hearts, of honest friendship and quiet joy come to mind. People turn from their labors and begin to think more of one another with thanksgiving. The end of summer has come. The work is over. The time for rest has come.
Many years ago, I made a bronze plaque with a little poem that I wrote as if the tree was speaking, and mounted it on a favorite wild cherry tree in my yard. The tree has now grown so much that the plaque sits embedded six inches into the trunk. Birds nest in its hollow. The poem reads,
I am a tree of rest.
God made both you and I.
Both by God are blessed.
Rest a few moments with me.
Hear the wind that no one can see.
Rest your mind.
Rest your soul.
Here, only rest is your goal.
Love is my mission.
Peace is my end.
Come again, my friend.
Breathe a sigh of relief with me now, my friends. Summer is over; sweet fall has come. It is a time when both leaves and hearts turn to gold.
Copyright 2015 by David Strange, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.