She’s most glorious in the fall.
Mother Nature dons her finest attire this time of year. Like an aging beauty, she knows that her loveliness is fading…
So she does what ladies do best.
She flaunts every jewel in her possession—scattering gems across the rounded bosom of her hills. Rubies and sapphires and emeralds, all linked together with the golden chains of her Maples.
Forget the other seasons, my friend! Forget the dustiness of summer and the timid pastels of springtime! In the autumn, Mother Nature has become a fiery redhead—full of spunk. Breathtaking. Drop-dead gorgeous!
I marvel at her beauty as I walk the trail, today, climbing high into the hills. A panoramic view of loveliness stretches before me—Mother Nature basking in the late-day sun…lounging in all her splendor…reveling in her final moments of glory, just before she fades to the drabness of winter’s old age.
Awestruck, I gaze at her beauty and breathe of her fragrance…taking it all to heart. I know how she feels—this middle-aged Mother who will soon grow old. This daring lady who teeters between youthfulness and geriatrics.
She inspires me today with her gracious candor. Give it your best shot, Nature seems to say. Don’t yield an inch…not until you absolutely have to! I pause to admire her reflection in a nearby pool…the sparkle of her rubies glittering at me from her vanity mirror.
I lean in a bit further. It’s then that I see her…The face of someone else looking up from the pool. A sober woman. The face looking back is not Mother Nature. And it’s not me, of course. It can’t be me…This gal looks too old.
She has crinkles at the corners of her eyes, and two little exclamation points of dismay between her eyebrows. A perturbed lady, to be sure. I sigh. Nowadays, it seems that she follows me closely—looking back at me from every pool and stream and puddle….from every passing window and mirror and shiny surface on earth.
I frown at the reflection and she frowns back. We peer at one another, now, engaged in some kind of staring contest—this odd gal and I.
She wins the stare-down.
I break first and look away. Turning, I leave the crinkled gal behind in the pool where she belongs. I push deeper into the hills.
A symphony of crickets play softly in the dry weeds. The wind makes a ssshushing sound in the trees…Whispers of bygone days when we were young…when living was a leisurely thing, instead of a mad rush toward Eternity.
I think of those who have gone before us. Those saints and soldiers and pilgrims who have journeyed to the end of their trail. My dear friend, Marjorie Kinghorn…and Deb DePriest…and the unforgettable Albert Austin—King of the River Bluff.
I think of all the adventurers who have struggled through the shadows of evening to the end of life’s road…who have finally made it home.
Home, indeed! With a start, I realize it is evening time…And I’m a long ways from home.
I turn my steps downhill, heading towards my home in the valley below. Somebody is already there. I can see pools of golden light expanding beyond the window panes… spreading out and out into the burgeoning twilight.
I hurry my steps, passing beneath the walnut trees. A walnut thuds to the ground beside me, narrowly missing my head. It splashes in a nearby mud puddle, and I pause to peer into the shadowy depths to watch the ripples spread. Gradually they fade and I find myself once again staring into the face of an aging gal with crinkles.
She stares back at me, watching my every move. No doubt she’s wondering how soon I’ll fold…How soon I’ll concede defeat to the relentless march of time…?
“Never!” I say firmly. “Never!” I stomp my foot at the old gal’s watery reflection, and she disappears in a flurry of wrinkles and crinkles and ripples.
She’s gone. At least for the moment.
I can go home, now, and sleep in my warm bed. I can escape this gal with the wrinkles—fleeing to a dreamland far away, where we never age. Where the heart and body and mind are forever young.
Someday, somewhere, Mother Nature, herself, will remain carefree—undaunted by old age and winter. Someday, she won’t have to flaunt her fading glory. She, too, will enjoy Eternal Springtime forever.
There truly is a place like that, you know. It’s called Heaven. A place where the sun never sets, and the leaves never fade. We’ll get there, someday, if we remain faithful to the good Lord above….
Ah…Timelessness and eternity. And departed loved ones.
They’re waiting for us…when we come to the end of the trail.