Hold Firm, and Wait
I have made no secret of the fact that Autumn is my favorite time of the year. October is like a trout stream to my heart; I just have to get out into the middle of it. It is a feast for the senses that calls to me.
November on the other hand can be a bit more sobering. The wind tends to come hard from the northwest and there are mornings when the pond edges are stiff with the first thin sheets of ice. The nights grow longer and darker, and the stars seem even more distant.
Today on my walk I heard first just a single note – far off and faint. It was the kind of sound that makes you wonder if you even heard it at all. But then, the notes came on stronger and growing stronger. It was the high-pitched whistling calls of swans. I stopped and waited with my ear cocked because my view to the north was blocked by a woods at that point of my walk. Then I saw them – a large V formation, three hundred birds strong, came riding the north wind southward. Even though they were very high it was easy to sense the power of those wingbeats. And then, too soon, they were gone and November was quiet.
October is the time of spectacular leaves. November is the time when all those leaves are on the ground, all turning molted brown pressed down and flattened by last week’s slushy snow. Now the trees stand bare, their seemingly lifeless branches sway stiffly on windy days.
But a closer look at those “lifeless” branches reveals that next spring’s buds are already set. Even on the oaks where some brown and now brittle leaves still cling desperately to the tree, buds cluster around the stems of those same leaves, even as they rattle in the breeze. Catkins hang hard and tight on the birches. The dogwood buds are hard to see; I have to run my fingers along the long thin red branches to feel the hard, turtle-like shell that covers each tiny bud.
Creation reveals the nature of the Creator. So, every ending holds the promise of a beginning – even every November.
“Why are you downcast my soul, why do you groan within me? Wait for God, whom I shall praise again, my savior and my God.” Psalm 42:12