First Blush of Autumn
Sun-dappled red, tucked in a
green and purple alcove on this
mid-autumnal day, fills me with a
wonder at its almost-hidden loveliness;
soul bends the knee, takes off its shoes,
and breathes a thanks for this and all the
brightness still to burst across our yard in
yellow, orange and brilliant scarlet
joy, as colors leap from tree to tree,
each day a new amazement splayed
beneath the still bright sun of fall.
Radiance shimmers in the air around;
I stand knee-deep in holiness, and
hunger for the taste of sacred in the
breath of each fresh day.
A Neighbor’s Tree
Sodden gray now shrouds that blush of hope that so short a time ago had leaves and spirits dancing in brisk autumn winds. Shadows lurk in the still-standing trees, fearful yet of Sandy’s powerful bluster that twisted through our neighborhood, viciously tearing green and golden leaves alike, and shattering a neighbor’s aged Eastern White Pine. The old tree cracked in two and fell with a resounding thud shortly after Sandy had pulled down wires and left the neighborhood in darkness. And we were the fortunate ones. Others lost their homes, their cars, and some, their loved ones who never knew what hit them when Sandy slammed a tree against their house or car.
So where the sense of holiness now? Where the shimmering joy of colors splashed across our lives? That all seems buried today beneath the piles of soggy leaves and branches, and our hopes seem dashed to mounds of soaking rubble.
But maybe there is holiness and hope even in the midst of all this chaos and ruin? Maybe God is in the wreckage of the storm as well as in the first blush of autumn’s bright array? Whatever lies behind the havoc of a frankenstorm like Sandy, (and I don’t think our finite minds can ever find the “just right” explanation we would like to find), I do believe, yes I do believe:
1) that Holy Love embraces all the pain and sadness left in Sandy’s frazzled wake;
2) that Holy Love weeps with Sandy’s devastation and with every other distortion of the dream God dreamed in the long-ago calling of our world into being; weeps with that great Eastern White Pine, weeps with my neighbor’s years-long fight with cancer, weeps with the limitations of my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, weeps with every sadness, every woe, weeps, as St. Paul says, with sighs too deep for words;
3) that Holy Love not only aches and weeps with us in every woe, but that in every aching, every tear, Love is also at all times re-weaving the shreds and tangles of all earth’s brokenness until God’s woven song of someday joy will be complete.
To be sure, the holiness we breathe in the solemn silence left by Sandy’s brutal visitation is a more somber holiness, a quieter sense of sacred Presence than we knew in that first blush of autumn’s wild joy. But if we listen closely to the wind now blowing gently through the lifeless needles drooped across the ground, I do believe we just might hear a hallowed sigh and feel the groaning ache of a God who yearns to make all things new.