Autumn and the seasons of life

Flames of Red, flicking golds, bright yellows and sparkling browns, ah yes Autumn is here. Gone are long, lazy, summer days, the sun’s power fading, disappearing from our skies in the early evening, to leave cool, misty nights and early morning frosts. Leaves start to fall to the ground like pirouetting dancers, performing a play on nature. The bright bursts of summer flowers fade losing their bloom and the landscape changes to perform the new masterpiece that Autumn brings to fruition. Animals search for berries and nuts, to store up for the cold months ahead, while we reach for thick cosy jumpers, and warm winter coats.

I love Autumn, it always amazes me. I love the bright, sunny, cold days, the trees alive with colour, watching the display nature offers as a gift to end the warmth of summer. I always feel lucky that I live in a country where I can watch the changing seasons. Sometimes we can be so busy we miss the wonderful world around us and the wonderful gifts it has to offer. When I can I love to get out and about with my camera and try to capture the magic that surrounds us. You don’t have to go far, even just into your own back garden to find wonders right there waiting. It can be a spider web covered in frost, or birds looking for morning worms, dewdrops on leaves or berries ripe and ready to be picked.

As the leaves turn to colours of red, bronze, and gold it can look as if the earth is burning, flames of colour consuming the streets, gardens and parks. Then once their magic is done and the leaves fall to the earth creating a glorious carpet on which we tread. Plants give forth seed to ensure new growth in spring and berries ripen providing food for the animals that depend on them.

As I watch this process every year it always makes me think of the cycle of life and how even as life ends we are reminded of the great beauty of it. While spring gives forth life and summer brings it to maturity, autumn heralds the slowing down of life and the move to winter. Yet when we look at nature even as life ends we see that it is a process that can teach us so much. After working hard all summer to turn light into the sugar that the tree needs, it is now time for the trees to take their long winter rest. With lovely, sunny, days and cool nights, the glorious colour of the leaves will be heightened. Unable to withstand the freezing temperatures of winter and in order to protect the tree, the leaves fall to the ground where they form a blanket to protect it and hold in moisture, then they break down into the soil which serves to enrich it for the year ahead. So too with the flowers many turning to seed to be carried away by the autumn winds or by the birds that eat them, to fall to the ground till spring brings them to life again.

In nature as life slips away we see the wonder of the cycle of life. The leaves display staggering beauty as their time to care for the tree comes to an end, yet even after they fall they provide what is needed to help life continue and make sure that life can begin again.

This made me think of us, and our cycle of life. For us when life ends is it an unwelcome visitor that changes our landscape and robs us of those that we love. Yet even as life ends we are reminded of the beauty in life and how much it gives us. I know that this seems unbelievable, how can it be so?

There is beauty because we have experienced love, we have had someone precious in our life, they have enriched us and taught us so much. They have made us the person we are and added to the tapestry of our life, our qualities and journey. Because of them life continues, is enriched and while they are no longer with us physically, they live on in us, and because of us. Their memories, qualities and gifts become part of us and our life and like the leaves displaying glorious colours they too have shown us blazes of beauty.

Of course the seasons of life for some are but a few hours or days, some a few years, for some who are lucky many years, however long they are with us it does not discount their worth. Every moment, every memory, every loved one is precious and we are so grateful for them all. This can give us comfort and help us through the cold winter of loss. Seeing the beauty does not mean there is no pain, no devastation or sorrow, instead it provides hope and strength, that life can go on, because our loved ones are always with us.

Just as the leaves fall and become part of the ground protecting the tree till it blooms forth again in spring, so our loved ones and all that they are remain in our hearts, deep in our soul like a blanket of protection. Their beauty drive us on, they are part of our future, they give us life and they help us bloom. The gifts they give us with their life will be forever entwined in us and those that come after us. Everything they are is part of nature, part of the seasons of life.

Autumn truly is a magnificent season, full of all the glories that natural has to offer. While in many ways it means the end of certain things it also gives us so much in return. I never fail to be amazed by life and all that is encompasses, both the joyous but also the hardships. Where ever we look there is beauty, and majesty and wonder. Nature is like a glorious play, we are cast in the leading roles, a beautiful symphony all working in harmony. We are part of it and it is part of us and together it gives us not only the beautiful seasons but also the seasons of life.

For my Grandad. Miss you still X

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