Ah, the obligatory "changing of the seasons" post... :)
I'm so thankful for our mild and wet July-August we had this summer, because it's made for quite the still-frame fireworks display around these parts, this October. This is by far the prettiest I've witnessed in my relatively short tenure of residency in Chicagoland. To be honest, a "dry, dead, and brown" autumn would have been especially difficult for my eyes and heart to take, this year, for the obvious reasons. But the color is an every-day reminder of God's beauty in change. Those leaves are dying... soon to fall from their branches. Those trees are getting ready to go into a near-dead hybernation for 5 grueling months. But they're going out with a bang. Like a shooting star, blazing its glory as it burns out into nothingness. The glory they bring to God... the worship they draw my heart into, as I witness it all... Hallelujah, indeed.
Leslie and I did our best to enjoy "fall" every year. When we lived in Indy, we'd drive down to Brown County for a scenic hike and snap all kinds of wonderful photos. A couple of years ago, we drove up to Door County, WI to do a winery tour, sight-seeing, and horseback riding. But there was always a subtle sadness about her, as I recall, as we'd soak in the fall together. She knew the winter was coming. She hated the winter. She could hardly bear the cooler weather and shorter hours of daylight that October brought... as to her they were mostly just a foreshadowing of the ice and darkness to come... the darkness that was to almost certainly tug her heart toward another bout with her ongoing struggle with depression. Those who don't live in Chicago need to know... in December/January, the sun sets between 4 and 4:30 p.m. local time, which makes for extremely long and cold nights. And Leslie always needed her sunlight. She'd actually get angry when, every year, on June 21, I'd cheerfully say to her, "It's the longest day of the year, Babe! Get out and enjoy all the sunlight!" Because what she heard me saying (although I wasn't at all saying it, in my mind) was "it's all down-hill from here... shorter days... colder nights... are just around the corner". I can't help but ponder how joyful she must be now, knowing that there is no more winter to loathe... no more cold to endure... not even the threat thereof. I'm sure it's always summertime in Heaven... early-June, perhaps... Only there, the trees and landscape in "early-June" more resemble late-October here.
Certainly, there are cold days ahead. Yes, life is changing. But it's no less beautiful. There is no less reason to give God His due glory. In fact, on the contrary... With the memories (sweet and bitter) of last June still so fresh in my mind; with the vision of Leslie basking in the warmth and long hours of that mid-June sunlight, as she certainly is today; and now with all the color and Glory I see surrounding me-- this is the most beautiful October I can ever remember.