Fall is my favorite season. It has been since I was a child. Summer in my childhood memories was warm and unhurried. Spring was cool and smelled fresh. Winter was cold and bright. But fall… fall always seemed magical to me.
I suppose part of my fascination with it was the sudden abundance of such warm colors. The golds, ambers, reds, and oranges in stark contrast to the usual appearance of the green leaves always made me smile. As though perhaps the tree had caught fire but refused to burn, and had instead adapted. Learning that eventually the leaves fell to the ground to blanket the floor with a wonderful crunch was even more of a treat.
The science behind this process is complex, but to break it down as simply, a growth hormone, auxin, slows as a response to the tree experiencing more nighttime hours. In exchange, another hormone, ethene, rises. The differing levels communicate to the leaves that it is time to weaken the cells at the base of the leaf while other cells expand to break through the links between the compromised cells. Thus, a leaf receives the signal that is time to fall from the branch.
But how do humans know when to let go? Years of scientific discovery and observation have taught us that when the leaves fall, and the tree is laid bare for the cold, it is a cycle of life, and one that we know the tree will benefit from. But as humans, it can be difficult to maintain that objectivity when it comes to changing seasons of our lives. When it feels like the periods spent in darkness grow longer and we feel the temperature around us drop, and we know in our hearts that we are approaching a season of cold and death, it is our instinct to cling to what we are holding.
But imagine a tree that never let go of his leaves after they began to change color. He would never again experience new growth, new life, and all that comes with surviving an unrelenting winter. He would be stuck. Stagnant. That is not God’s will for us. There are things in our lives that we need to let go of. Especially when the hard season is beginning. Things that will not serve us in that season. Resentment. Fear. Old and useless habits. And yes, like the bare tree, we will feel the harsh reality that is a season of bleakness, darkness, and parting. But a season cannot and does not last forever. With time, we will bear new leaves, new fruits, that were conceived and born of some of the most difficult times of our lives. You will bloom and be just as beautiful as you always have been in your Father’s eyes. Let the ambers, golds, and scarlets of this season be a gentle reminder to you that there is indeed beauty in change. And that there is life on the other side of it.
You are loved.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ASV
3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.