Dying Yellow Leaves

Autumn. The others don’t even compete. It’s a cool brisk morning… The heat of the sun streaming through the foggy white windows is at last rightly appreciated as a commodity; its warm color contrasts the faded vibrances below.

There’s a few quiet minutes before the alarm rings, miles away in its dusty parking spot, and today that’s more than enough time. Every passing thought is current, and admired like a fresh coat of paint. Waking up to this day, to fall, sounds just like the beginning of my favorite song. Moments later, with the weight of a ragged, unbuttoned, army green jacket on my shoulders and a cup of bean smoking in hand, the sturdiness of starched blue jeans worn, an unshaven chin, and unshakeable confidence in my narrowed eyes, I feel like myself. I take my first few steps of road smelling ember without a fire in sight, and fallen yellow leaves accent the presumed cold ground beneath my soles. They lie idly, blurring with careful rebellion the definitive lines of where the sidewalk ends and tough grass begins. And now a pause, a still moment, an observation, a question, and a thought.

Isn’t it peculiar, that I find beauty in a collection of crunchy dead things? Somewhere I envision a seated child and a kneeling parent before them, exclaiming in a sweet voice, “Look honey! It’s fall! Look at all the beautiful colors! Look at all those beautiful leaves!… those dead… dying leaves. Watch their corpses plummet. Watch them plummet to the ground! My, what beautiful spirals of doom.” Sigh.

“Uh… Yeah mom. You okay? You seem a little morbid today.”

Don’t we all do it without realizing what we’re doing? I wonder if this encouragement to find beauty in death was on purpose. I wonder if when they were made, they were intentionally meant to be irresistibly inspiring. But why? Why make death so ugly everywhere else, and then make it beautiful here?

It wouldn’t appear people particularly enjoy being reminded of their mortality. We seem much more to prefer bravery. But the beauty in the remembrance of mortality is seemingly the blessing thought of eternity.

When I look at leaves of autumn, I think maybe they are echoing Christ’s death. I don’t know. They die nobly. They die brilliantly. They die beautifully. In three seasons, they return, as if reverberating Christ’s return from the grave on the third day. Then, they complete their performance and ready themselves for the next show, maybe, to continually be reminding us of the great love of God. If that was on purpose, it kinda makes you feel sorry for Alaskans doesn’t it?

Taking a look at us, along with the rest of creation, what do you hear it saying about it’s creator’s focus, passions, and deniability? Artwork, artwork like this, speaks volumes of its creator. “What’s the story behind this piece?” “What was the inspiration to create such a masterpiece?” … I think we were.

Romans 8
19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.