Farewell, Golden Autumn

img_8161This was a November unmatched for beauty, as autumn lingered gloriously long—and these are the quintessential pictures of it in my mind.

The landscape awash in rich browns and golds…img_8002the rustle of drying grasses in the gentle breeze as the sunlight gilded it all to royalty…IMG_8121.JPG the frosty mornings…img_7920img_7911followed by warm and golden days…img_8119But kind as it’s been to us, November is still a month of transitions as it must be, a split personality, if you will, bridging the gap between autumn and winter—and “they say”, whoever they may be, that the time of the inevitable change is at hand.  There’s a winter storm warning for the weekend, and it’s time to finish that project of putting small girls’ mittens on strings that I’ve been putting off because we just haven’t needed them yet.

So, gladly anticipating the approach of a new season and a world of white on its way, I take a moment to bid one last adieu to autumn.  It’s been lovely—see you next year!

“O God…You have established all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter.” (Psalm 74:17)

(And the seasons in between—and I’m grateful!)


Save

Playing in the Reflections

IMG_8062-1.jpgIt was possibly the most gloriously beautiful November day we’ve had yet—and if the playful antics I observed this morning are any evidence, apparently the otters knew it, too.

There was a whole family of them, three frolicsome pups and their only slightly more sedate parents, all playing lively games of dive and chase together in the liquid reflections.  The surface of the lake roiled wildly with underwater fun, occasionally erupting into sparkles of splashes, and the curves and shimmers of sleek brown bodies.

As I watched their joy-infused antics with pleasure, it occurred to me that there is more than one way to compose a psalm of praise.  To some is given the gift to string words together and put them to music…

“All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing…
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!” (Francis of Assisi)

But to others it is given to write their praises to Creator God by the way they live their lives.

For my sleek little neighbors, it is dancing through the water to make poetic ripples on a blue hole of a lake on a sunny day.  What is it for you?

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

 

P.S. Go here to hear a worshipful acapella version of the above quoted hymn and infuse your day with a beautiful note of praise!

Save

Forest Floor

img_7288img_7311In the early autumn evening, we wandered through a forest of giants still dripping from the previous night’s rain.  The wind rustled through the leaves still tenaciously clinging to the underbrush and whispered through the tops of the soaring pines.  My eyes, however, were drawn far more often to the forest floor than its grand ceiling.img_7233img_7275img_7341img_7321img_7347img_7249img_7268Sometimes the most wonderful things are not the most immediately obvious, but require one to pause, stoop down and look with care—but ah, how much beauty there is to discover!

“And I will give thee the…hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.” (Isaiah 45:3)

Worth Pulling Over For

IMG_7359.JPGSome sunsets are just worth pulling the car over to the side of the road for.

“The Mighty One, God, the LORD, has spoken, and summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.  Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth.” (Psalm 50:1-2)

Fall Color Tour

img_7506Ah, peak of fall.  We just finished that splendid time of year in which they mark little roads around here with signs designating them as part of the “Fall Color Tour”, and if you take one, you should be prepared to drive very slowly.  That is, at least if I’m in the car and have my camera along (wink).

Now, alas, the wind has taken most of them to the ground.  If you missed it, however, you’re in luck—because I did all the hard work for you and took pictures of the best spots.  I hereby invite you to sit back, enjoy a mini tour from the comfort of your chair, and join me in praising the Lord for the autumnal beauty of the earth.  (Not included is the sound of wind rustling through leaves already fallen, the wonder of leaves falling all around like glorious confetti, and the mingled fragrance of gentle autumn sunshine and rain showers.  My apologies; try to use your imagination.)img_7544“Shout joyfully to God, all the earth… img_7534Sing the glory of His name; Make His praise glorious…    img_7423Say to God, “How awesome are Your works!…img_7092All the earth will worship You, and will sing praises to You…img_7180
They will sing praises to Your name….img_7404Come and see the works of God, who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men…img_7384Bless our God, O peoples, and sound His praise abroad.” (Psalm 66:1-5, 8)

 

For last year’s fall colors, and some fun memories of my grandpa, see here.

 

Save

Following the Leader

IMG_7011.JPGIMG_6974.JPGThey walked around the milk house, then past the barn.  They paused briefly to flap their wings disapprovingly at the weeds in my garden, then continued on around the garage, and out into the hay field where they walked it’s length back and forth a couple times before finally filing back down to the shore of the lake where they came from.  All this was carried out in complete order and dignified silence.

I feel like there was some kind of lesson being taught to these young swans as they followed their parents on this mysterious tour, mimicking their elders’ every step.  What it was I never will know, I suppose.  Perhaps it was an exercise routine to strengthen land skills before a long flight south for the winter.  Perhaps it was a family outing, just for the fun of it.  Perhaps it was an educational tour of local farm life (if they were expecting anything spectacular, I’m afraid they were disappointed).

Or maybe I was just watching the trumpeter swan version of the game of “Follow the Leader”.  If that was the case, we could certainly learn from their example.  It’s a game that contains principles for life.IMG_6990.JPG“Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

“If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:26)

More posts about our resident trumpeter swans here, here , here and here.

 

Save

All On a Saturday Night

IMG_7055.JPGIt was a Saturday night.

The mingled aromas of garlic, basil and oregano lingered in the kitchen, echoes of a tomato-zucchini-chicken-mozzarella-smothered dish that had my husband claiming that all that was lacking was tiramisu to transport him to our favorite Italian restaurant.

A candle was still flickering on the table from our late night meal, the first candlelight one of the year.  Behind it, a fistful of Russian sage stood stiffly upright, stuffed in a vase with all the advanced flower arranging skills of a four-year-old.  It was, after all, the fistful of Russian sage I didn’t have the heart to scold her for picking because it was so sweet the way she happily presented it to me.  The bouquet threw flowery shadows to dance on the wall as the flame below it flickered.

The baby was sleeping, peaceful, in her wooden cradle, lamplight making spindled shadows across her blanket while long eyelashes rested softly on round cheeks.

The squeaks and splashes of her older sisters in the midst of enjoying their Saturday night bath echoed from the bathroom.

I rinsed soap bubbles off the last clean white plate and set it on the rack to dry, humming to the old familiar song playing softly in the background, that one that forever conjures up black and white images in my mind of my grandpa when he was a little boy.

And then I turned out the lights—but before I could blow out the candle, I caught a glimpse through the window of silvery mists swirling over the fields.  A great yellow moon was rising through the trees and there was a path of liquid gold across the lake, leading straight to it, calling me out.

When I stepped back inside, there was dew on my bare feet and a cratered harvest moon captured on my camera.  The crowning touch to a perfectly ordinary evening in which all the simple, happy things of life were strung like pearls and shone together as one beautiful blessing.

“Return to your rest, O my soul, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.” (Psalm 116:17)