I remember the bold autumns of my childhood in Michigan and the only slightly less impressive displays in the northwest where we spent nine of the last eleven Septembers.
I miss those days, but I appreciate the more subtle changes that take place here: the bright summer sunshine gives way to a deeper golden glow that casts a rich light over everything; the soft summer breeze picks up a cool edge that rattles across the pavement with the fallen leaves.
I once heard that a tree shows its true colors only once photosynthesis has stopped and the green of the chlorphyll gives way to the gold or crimson or russet specific to its variety. I find that so interesting--a tree spends most of the year growing and storing energy and only once it begins to rest can you see its "true colors." And it always seems a tad unfair that just when those colors start to show, a rain storm or brisk breeze strips the trees of their most authentic exhibition.
People are often described as being in a particular 'season of life.' If there are parallels, our prime years would be autumn, right? At about the point we've passed the summer season of youth, we've reached the place where we can live off the wisdom we've gained through our experiences. We aren't as worried with impressing anyone, even though we've developed some of our most impressive characteristics--a lack of self-consciousness, a new self-confidence, wisdom that overcomes insecurity, grace to let others make the mistakes we've already learned from--just to name a few.
I'm older than I look (at least, that's what I've been told, even though I change life insurance categories tomorrow!), and while I do have a young family, I also have the advantage of a number of years spent growing and learning and acquiring (I hope) a degree of wisdom that will serve as a foundation for these years.
Yes, part of me would love to look in the mirror and see unlined skin and hair that doesn't need "highlights' to mask the ever-increasing silver, while another side is glad that I'm not the person I was in the 'summer' of my 20's. I'll take the warm, brilliant colors that I've earned over that perpetual green of figuring things out any day.
It is my goal to glow in all seasons with the rich colors that God created me to exhibit. I hope my "autumn" lasts a good, long time. How about you?