The asphalt path soon leads from an open field to a pathway strewn with a carpet in browns, golden yellows, and rusty oranges. The rain from the previous day had captured many leaves and has given them a sense of permanency before the sun could take back control, and the wind could whisk them about. For now, the carpet stretches into every empty space of the forest floor. Everywhere, the grays and greens and charcoals of fallen logs seemed to have settled into this thick tweedy patch-work, as if they were getting ready for the cold to come.
It was quiet in here except for the shish shish of my shoes as I walk gently in the ever-growing world of color about me. Overhead, the deep blue that only an autumn sky can display makes a bold and bright background to the colorful garments on the trees overhead: bright yellows, scarlets, oranges and reds, browns and greens. No matter where I look, the colors permeate my senses like a kaleidoscope of the richest hues, one that no man yet has captured on canvas. Turning round, looking up and down, color everywhere.
I catch sight of an enormous tree trunk and notice carved letters that have etched themselves forever in the light gray trunk. I wonder if whoever carved these letters saw the beauty of this giant tree. The trunk stands out much lighter against its darker neighbors, and there is no rough bark. It is as smooth as a polished stone. Overhead its branches reach to both sides like a giant umbrella. I am in a shelter here. One side of this shelter is yellow, the other green, and the top as far as I can see, is red. It takes my breath away. Abby, my dog, walks next to me with her nose to the ground. I ask her if she sees the beauty around, and she just looks bewildered. Its lost to her.
But it’s not lost to me. I’m in worship. I’ve had a Sabbath blessing.
I stoop to pick up a brown oak leaf that is almost two times the size of my hand, and then I sight a tiny red leaf smaller than my little finger. There are no two alike. All around leaves of all colors drift down from their lofty heights to their final rest. I inhale deeply of the woodsy cool air. When I see the works of your hands, oh, God, what am I that you are mindful of me? Yet I live in your unshakable kingdom, one that is filled with wonder an awe. I’m so grateful that I can see and smell and taste of this goodness.
I exit slowly from this enchantment. My lungs are full of good clean air, my heart feels a deep contentment, and my soul has been fed.
Coral Swieringa is a guest blogger and a member of Christ Memorial Church.