I'm thinking of those fabulous colours that we see in autumn, looking over the forest and seeing the wonder of the colours and shades of the deciduous trees. It really is an amazing time of year, and as I write this in the middle of September the weather has already turned really autumnal. By the time you read this, most of us will have the central heating on and we will be experiencing autumn.
Many people do not like the dark nights of autumn and the dark afternoons of winter - but the seasons are a great gift to us in creation. If you live near the Equator, the length of the day is almost the same throughout the year, and the seasons are not so marked. Living where we do, the seasons are normally clear and provide us with a wonderful variety of weather and conditions over the year. Each season has its beauty. The snow can look beautiful, even if it causes many problems. The clear, bright, yet very cold day in winter can be quite stunning. The spring is wonderful with its new life and spring flowers. The long hot days of summer can be so enjoyable. What variety!
The autumn colours are an expression of beauty. It is a bit of a mystery why we find certain things so beautiful, and why this sense of beauty can be so overwhelming. Some would say that there is no God - yet they will see beauty in various forms in the world. As a Christian I would link it with God's glory. The glory of God is reflected in beauty in creation. Beauty can be experienced in so many forms; art, nature, the human body, design, architecture, music, poetry, mathematics, physics, astronomy and so many other areas.
Our own lives have seasons and times of storms or calm. As we get older it is a bit like entering autumn - but at any time we can have quiet times in our lives and times of crisis and uncertainty. Sometimes we look back and wonder how we navigated a really difficult time. Maybe we can think of people who have helped us. In the community of faith we pray to God in good times and bad and trust that He, often through others, will take our hand and guide us through. A dear friend of mine, in the last year of her life, told people that she could sense the love of God moving round her like the autumn leaves falling to the ground.
Autumn can be associated with melancholy. This is reflected in some very well known poems associated with the season. After all - it is the time leading to winter. The days are getting darker and people tend to turn inwards both physically and mentally. Yet we can bring light into autumn and winter through celebrations. It is so good to come out of the dark and cold into a warm house, perhaps with an open fire, all lit up beautifully. We celebrate Christmas at the darkest time of the year. That great festival has been a bit submerged by all the marketing issues, but it is a lovely time of light and celebration. We know that as we move from autumn into winter spring is not that far away. The created world is all moving on to new life and possibilities and this sense of purpose and newness can be picked up in our own lives too.
As I reflect on the beauty of autumn - I look forward to autumn 2013. A few years ago we were at the Arboretum at Boddenham. The trees around the lake looked stunning that day. There was someone else looking. ‘No need to go to New England when we have this on our doorsteps!' I think of God as I see that beauty, and I remember how he has guided me through the weather and seasons in my life. I believe that God is leading us on to new and good things. Do you find autumn beautiful, and which is your favourite season?