As I write this, it is evident that autumn is here. The farmers are busy harvesting corn and beans. The air is thick with dust from the fields, and it doesn’t matter if you live in the middle of town or not, dust travels and covers the landscape. Unfortunately, it also lands on the end table in my living room.
Autumn in Iowa is my favorite season. The days can be warm, the nights are cool. The bugs are almost absent after the recent cold spell. The plants in the garden have given us the last of their bounty before winter sets in. Canning is in full swing for some with the hopes of saving portions of that bounty for winter.
It seems in Iowa the seasons are always in flux. In the spring, we wished for the hot summer nights. During the sweltering heat of summer, we wished for these cool autumn nights. We wonder where the time went. We wonder where summer went. Sure, we may get a late rush of warm weather, but we know that winter is coming.
Autumn is a time of plenty, a time of fulfillment in which the richness of nature becomes abundantly visible, but also a time that nature points beyond itself by the fragility of its passing beauty. We tend to miss the beauty around us. We tend to just drive by trying to get to this place and that place, all in a hurry and miss the little details of nature.
When I take the time to slow down (which isn’t as much as I should), I can get overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape unfolding itself before my eyes. I love it when nature shows off, and I am dazzled by the bright colors of the trees. The yellow of the hickory trees, the different shades of red from the maples and oaks, and the green of the willows - together they form this fantastic spectacle. When the sky is full of mysterious cloud formations, and just as I walk down the path, the sun’s rays burst through the clouds and cover the land with their light, making the cornfields look like a golden tapestry.
The beauty of fall is unbelievable. It is at moments like this that I can only agree with the psalmist: “The hills are girded with joy, they shout for joy, yes, they sing” (Psalm 65:12–13).
Only a few weeks from now, those colorful leaves will have whirled to the ground and the trees will be bare, announcing the coming of winter and snow. It will only be a few months before all the hills will be white, covered with a thick blanket of frozen snow. But then we can remember the rich powers hidden underneath that will show themselves again to those who have the patience to wait.
Travis Segar, Pastor for Care and Community