Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Life in the Autumn Years

'A PeaceFul Glow'  24" X 48"

Today autumn exhaled its first cool breath infusing kaleidoscopic colour into October’s Ontario! 

Sky’s vast backdrop of clean cobalt soared heavenward while sun leaned hard toward late afternoons departure...
We drove north...quiet in our wandering...
Intersecting mantles flowed, billowing brilliant in yellow’s afternoon whimsy...
Purples gentle touch...dabbed, stroked and scumbled...
Deep rust orange and sumacs red interspersed a thousand greens...
Inspirations palette far beyond mere chance...
Last night frost strode on stage and vibrancy took full spotlight in the single spin of a top on steroids...earths daily revolution.
My thoughts meandered, pondering life’s cruel arc, yet meditating on the awesome surrounding. Recent days have seen my ninety-one year old father begin his slow walk off autumns path toward the snowy climes beyond.
True beauty often comes through life’s deepest painful circumstance! 
Such is the case with trees of the northern boreal, limitless, unrivaled, untraveled. Northeast’s slice of geographic wonder is endowed with abundant hardwoods, which when kissed by ‘old jacks’ first nip, turn on a dime from that wide palette of green to royalty’s richest curtains of velvet red and gold.
Life it seems to me is like that!
One day we are enjoying the sweet warmth of the ‘green life.’ Lying back on carpets of newly cut grass gazing wistfully at skies open canopy...an azure lake a short caress just off one’s side...not a care in the world.
Then…the cold snap! Without warning, a kick in the gut...lungs retch for air...suddenly here!
It may be that at fifty-five or sixty years society portrays us as a gnarled old oak, unsuitable for the supple work of the new IT world. Diabetes or cancer take their toll. Heart attack or mini-stroke assail. We heave, we reel...wide eyed realities wake up call!
These thoughts are far removed from the average ‘30 something’ out to conquer their world, and yet, inexorably here they march, worlds to threaten...ready or not!
What then in response to the cold snap which send our leaves falling and change their hue forever? 
Out of the blue we wake up one day and most of the news anchors are in their thirties, forties or younger!
At times, the fifty-five to sixty plus crowd, the ‘boomers’ of which I am one, head down the path of ‘the way we were’ or ‘the way it was.’ We glance fondly back at our green days and remember smugly of how we tried to set our world ablaze. Retaining our ‘modus operandi’ as the ultimate and only way of approaching life we lean toward denigrating change seen all around us. 
So what does any of this have to do with the brilliance of a sturdy maple in early October?
My reflection is, as change inevitably casts lengthening shadow and brilliant color dims, we still face abundant opportunity!
It’s not January after all...it’s only October!
Too often we allow our leaves to drop off prematurely and we are left with shells of our former selves. Almost skeletal, we wander, bedraggled, seemingly lifeless and gray. 
Life is over...let it sag, physically, socially and spiritually! 
Those with color remaining, we mutter cynically, are just experiencing their second childhood. ‘Get a life,’ sighs the wind whipping off the last remaining leaves of what in past brought hope to many.
So what of October color?
Ultimately frost touches each of our lives. The question is whether during these days of ‘Indian summer’ will we be reflectors of late beauty? 
The autumn of life is not just about our feeble attempts to constantly void-fill self-centered desire. Enjoying life’s fruit from labor is well and good. Too often however, the only reason to get up in the morning is to follow that little dimpled orb around the back nine. Even that is also fine, except when it becomes our raison d’etre for life’s existence. 
Whatever our autumn proclivity, if a believer, it needs to take distinctly second place to the Master’s clarion call for kingdom benefit, all the way to the end. Reflecting the beauty of life from the first green shoots of reborn lives, until our leaves drop off, we have kingdom stuff still to accomplish.
Leaves that once were green...still remain leaves! Their purpose may have changed but they should still cling with noble purpose!
Too often, sitting in groves of unclad twig-like huddles, others are scraped with the sharpness of old age. Pointed gnarled branch-like fingers jab at younger blossoming colleagues, reminding them ‘we’ are the ones who know all about green days. 
My view as I look about this autumn day, is that shape and color constantly explode in riotous diversity. Why l wonder, weren’t all leaves made identical in shape, form and maybe gray in color? Diversity has been presented to us in nature as a grand metaphor to get us to think beyond our little lines of constriction.
With each season we face in this short life, we should reflect the brilliance of his light, creativity and diversity and show to others that no matter what season we find ourselves in, we are called to illuminate, not contaminate.
A mentor hands off a baton, but stays around as coach!
Even after our leaves ultimately drop to the ground, let’s become a soft bed of memories to encourage others that a life lived well for our Father now, rings out generation after generation as new forests appear.
“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” 
Psalm 71:18 NIV
Soli Deo Gloria
J. Douglas Thompson...SDG
Copyright 2011

1 comment:

  1. Love your take on the seasons of life. Thanks Doug