Standing in the sun room, my bare feet warmed by heat radiating from the Spanish tiles that had been absorbing the sun’s rays all morning through the windows just above, I gazed out and couldn’t help but think that summer seems to go by faster and faster with each passing year. My mother (laughingly) told me some time back, “Rebecca it feels like that because you’re getting older!” There is some truth to that; I remember as a little girl it felt like time would just d r a g on and on for what seemed like forever, leaving me consumed with the urge to hurry in order to not miss out on ANYTHING, yet as an adult I’ve found that time does seem to pass by just a bit faster each year, leaving me longing for it to slow down…if even the smallest bit, so as not to miss even one precious moment of anything. Of course, here in South Florida, it is a bit harder to differentiate seasons as they approach, due to the fact that there are no Autumn leaves, nor that particular “feel” the night air gets this time of year, when the coolness causes the air to feel somehow – cleaner. Most I notice an absence of the scent in the air itself that seemed to come with Fall during the years I lived in Alabama, which was the faint aroma of chimney smoke that drifted in the evening breeze.
Autumn was always a time of fascination and enjoyment growing up. I can remember as a child going into the woods, with all of the many colored leaves covering the ground like a woven patchwork quilt. When the wind would begin to pick up, the trees produced a sound much different than what you would hear in the summertime when they were full of their foliage. It was more of a haunted moaning, with echoed sounds that would pierce the lonesome silence of the forest, as their upper trunks bent with the shifting breeze, capturing the remaining leaves that had not yet fallen to blanket the ground that eagerly awaited them.
What interests me is “why” Fall occurs. You know, there actually is a reason for it and a purpose for why each aspect of nature happens as it does. For instance, in the fall, trees stop making chlorophyll and this causes the green leaves to fade, giving way to the red, yellow, orange and browns of Autumn. Late in this season, most of the leaves of deciduous trees have fallen off. This happens because it is nature’s way of protecting the tree during the winter months. In the winter, trees get very little water through their roots. If the leaves were to remain, the water would then escape as water vapor through the leaves. This way the tree conserves water and thus stays alive.
Interesting, how much of our lives are reflected in the world around us, or better yet, how much the world around us reflects “life.” Just as the Autumn winds usher in the changes of Fall, so do the winds of circumstantial change in our lives. We all are placed in circumstances from time to time that cause us to go through a variety of changes and growth in areas such as: Gratitude, Humility, Surrender, Acceptance and Forgiveness. Part of this process operates on much the same premise as the leaves that are shed from the trees during the fall. Circumstances cause our defects of character and shortcomings to rise to the surface ~ (Those things that we’ve held onto so tightly; that allowed us to cover up the areas of our lives that we didn’t want others to see). If we allow the recovery process to take its natural course, those defects and shortcomings will then begin to fall away from us. Much like that late Fall wind that blows through the almost barren trees, causing a creaking and lonesome howl, so too does that wind of change as it blows across our exposed “self,” after having allowed those things that once covered us and made us appear somewhat bigger, stronger and unaffected than we really were, too fall away.
But although this moment can be most uncomfortable, a much greater purpose is being served! Without being barren, the trees could face destruction and even death, due to their need to absorb and retain water through their roots in order to survive winter. This same process is necessary in our own lives. Many of the instinctual emotions that make up our humanness, such as: Resentment, Fear, Pride and Sex – are also laden with defects of character and shortcomings that cause us conflict and pain, and which need removal. Were this to never happen, we could also face our own destruction, and even death. By allowing the wind of healing recovery ~ Willingness, Honesty and Open-Mindedness ~ to blow over us, we are able to be stripped of what hinders our spiritual growth, allowing our “roots” to not only absorb life giving water, (Or, if you will, – a connection with God), but to better retain those God-given qualities of Love, Patience, Tolerance, Courage, Humility and Wisdom ~ that will sustain us through the difficulties and challenges that lie ahead, causing us to achieve growth and become stronger.
I love this journey and I am humbled by the grace which has allowed the opportunity I’ve been given to partake in it. While I am not “eager” for change, I am excited by the blessings I know will come as a result of it.
©2009-2014 Rebecca Balko