New England Autumn is like none other. As a child, I was accustomed to the temperamental northeast weather. I paid little attention to it. I did not notice when the leaves changed. I enjoy crunching the them underneath my shoes and I also enjoyed crunching ice underneath as the frost and cold temperatures froze water. Spring meant a lot of work. Green. It’s what spring is all about…clearing the yard and preparing the garden, “spring” cleaning, mowing, hanging clothes to dry outside. You all would have thought we lived on a farm. I did not enjoy spring. And summer had one appeal to me: swimming.
Now as I am older, I have recently found myself having a hard time focusing on conversations if I am outdoors as these Autumn colors are grabbing at my attention, demanding I drink it all in, consume it. Bright pinks and stunning yellows. Mahogany’s and sunset oranges. I tried to wax leaves this year, as a way to preserve the colors to remember them by, but it doesn’t do the color justice. They are just so stunning.
In a week or two, the leaves will be no more here in New England. Barren trees and hiking paths and arbor ways. The winters can be painfully isolating. The house is cold. Outside is cold and wet and snowy. People are grumpy. It gets dark b y 4PM. Depression sets in for many people. And to be honest, I am still recovering from a brutal winter last season, a record breaking winter here in Boston.
And just when we think we can’t take it anymore, just as we start to wonder if it will ever become warm again, if winter will ever end, the green forsythia comes out. And it starts to bloom yellow, reminding us that spring is coming. One of the first signs of warmth and life amidst the slumbering winter temperatures. Green: a sign of life and growth and new beginning.
Things can feel awefully painful, even when we know the out come. Even when we are sure of what’s ahead, what is present remains challenging. I find this to be true of heaven and eternity. Even though I know that God is redeeming the brokenness, the sorrow, the grief.. even though I know there will be goodness and togetherness, it does not take away the pain of today, of the now. Life is hard and pain is deep. But right now, I can’t grasp what’s ahead, not in the ways I could at previous points in my life. Right now I’m in the stretch of winter, just trying to make it to spring, half knowing it has to come sometime, half trying to hope it still will, and a smidgen unsure at the moment. And that’s the reality of the roller coaster of my current life, somedays it’s bright pink and orange and blowing my mind, other days it’s green with growth and understanding, but many many days it’s dark and cold and feels bitter, and I just hold on. Waiting.
Because sometimes waiting is the hardest thing one can do.