The leaves on the Chinese maple outside my study window are beginning to turn in colour. The branches are weighed down with seeds, ready to be caught by the next breath of wind, strong enough to separate them from the tree and send them spinning across the garden.
The fuschia has forced another couple of flowers, red and purple, in a valiant last-ditch attempt, before the temperatures begin to drop and the days grow shorter. It has had a hard summer – months of drought, when watering was forbidden except when I remembered to take a bowl of water out to it; followed by weeks of rain that had it trying to hold its head above the water level to stop itself from drowning. And yet it has flowered throughout the summer, delighting me in its beauty.
The geraniums did not fair so well. I am no gardener (you might have guessed) but it seems to me they do not like swimming. Their pots are too heavy for me to lift and drain, and I realised this season that the drainage holes must be blocked, for they have struggled in the soggy soil.
Autumn is almost here. Yet as I look out of my window this morning – about an hour after sunrise – I see the yellow strelitzia about to burst into flower. (Here it is – two days later in full flower!) This is one of my favourite flowers in my little garden. The orange one around the corner is beautiful and produces prolific, bright flowers, but this yellow one is more
gentle – the colour of butter – and only flowers now and again. It was planted by the lady who previously lived here (who was a gardener of note) and it has grown large, stoic in its efforts to survive the extremes of climate.
And I hear my new neighbour who has just moved into the area. The beautiful glossy starling chatters away non-stop in the Chinese maple. What it lacks in melody it makes up in looks. Its iridescent feathers glow in the early morning light. Its bright yellow eyes are alert, seeking food for its young for I think it is raising a brood of chicks as I hear them chirruping throughout the day. Their chorus increases in volume whenever one of their parents approaches the nest.
Yes, I live in the city. Yes, there are traffic and sirens and high walls around me. But these little glimpses of nature and the beauty of creation surround me and I am well content.
I love autumn. It is my favourite season. For me, it is the fanfare announcing winter – a time of consolidation and stillness – before the fruition of the promise of a new spring.
I love the thought that God says to the trees as they shed their leaves ‘Do it again. Rid yourself of the old and start working on the new.’ And to the fuschia, ‘Rest now. Don’t worry about any more flowers this season. In the spring we will do it again together.’ And to me, ‘Relax. Don’t try to do it all yourself. Follow Me and together we will fulfill the task I have called you to do.’
Yes, I love autumn. Can you hear God calling you in whatever season you are experiencing at this time, wherever you are in the world? How does He use your season to speak to you?