The Autumn Bouquet
-- As a young girl growing up in the South, it was customary
to experience what we call Indian summers. The warm days that
would linger on into the months of September and sometimes October.
During those extended periods of seasonal temperatures, you could
usually find me perched high atop one of the many large apple,
maple, or oak trees that graced our two-acre family home. Life
was fairly simple then -- at least that’s how it seemed
for this former tomboy who much preferred a catcher’s mitt
over playing with Barbie doll’s any day.
My entire summer wardrobe consisted of blue jeans, T-shirts,
and a red celery stalk rubber band that nicely gathered up my
blonde locks into a bouncy ponytail. Yep, back then it was just
me and my love affair with trees. To this day my brothers still
talk about how I used to “live” in the trees and how
I had the scarred-up elbows and knees to prove it.
Looking back, I realize how those grand old trees must have been
somewhat of a sanctuary for me. Besides offering a great view
and a cool shade, I honestly believe I was just trying to get
a closer look at the ‘God of the sky’, the God I had
been hearing so much about from my Sunday school lessons.
I could always sense His presence whenever I held a large, golden
maple leaf and gazed at it in curious wonder while lying in the
crook of a large limb. I was fascinated by the tiny veins of sap
that crisscrossed on its surface and the teeny-tiny critters that
gathered inside the foliage. I would patiently watch as an inch
worm continually re-gathered himself as he humpity-humped his
way e-v-e-r so slowly toward an over-ripened apple that was barely
hanging on by its stem.
My absolute favorite time of the year is fall. I just love the
warm colors of the yellows, oranges, reds, and crimsons that autumn
brings her way. The very air itself seems to hold a clean crispness
as the squirrels scamper around, greedily stuffing acorns in their
jaws, while dried leaves one by one slowly fall, toiling and spinning
in the dance of a graceful decent.
After a few weeks of the cool fall breezes, I would soon notice
that my tree hideaways were becoming a little more sparse and
empty. All the colored foliage was now scattered about on the
ground underneath. I would jump down from the trees and shuffle
my bare feet through the leaves as I carefully selected only the
prettiest and brightest leaves while holding them together by
their stems. Before long, I would have a rather large bouquet
of autumn leaves to offer back to the God of the sky, who had
made the wonderful trees that I had spent my entire summer in
and all the tiny creatures that had befriended me there as well.
This was the beginning of a long love affair between a tomboy
girl and her Creator that would last for a lifetime.
I still gather up the prettiest and brightest fall-colored leaves
in remembrance of my wonder years, those impressionable years
when I was discovering the God whose marvelous handiwork is displayed
not only in the sky, but throughout the heavens and the earth
and even sometimes most gloriously… in a little girl’s
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then
all the trees of the woods will sing for joy; they will sing
before the LORD (Psalm 96: 12-13, NIV).
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