Monday, October 10, 2005

Catching Fire....

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Exodus 3:1-2

It's that time again in central New England. I haven't really seen the signs in Boston yet, but out to the west where we live, the signs are clear that the harvest is just about past, and the season of burning bushes, maple, oak, and poplar trees is upon us. My tomato plants have begun to die -- not the heartier heirlooms yet, just the early producing hybrids that fed us in late July and early August. The cabbage are about ready to be picked, and the butternut squash are reaching their potential as a result of their late planting.

The next big event is coming quickly -- fully colored foliage. Exodus records that Moses said, "I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up." Exodus 3:3. Soon, many people who know why the trees burn with vibrant colors will turn aside to see them, stopping to look at the briliant patchwork of reds, yellows, oranges and passing greens as the trees give up the verdant splendor of summer for their bare, hardened winter appearance. We know they will only feign death -- that in the spring the buds and flowers will display once again the colors of autumn, only in softened pastels -- the appearance of death will give way to vibrant signs of new life.

Before spring must come winter, as New England finds itself once again blanketed in snow, at first appearing pure and comforting, but winter is a harsh mistress, who will make sure some of the trees will not stand until spring, despite their hardening to survive her assault. Some will crack, snap, and fall under the weight of frozen snow and ice -- others may be uprooted by cruel nor'easters bringing seemingly endless biting-cold winds.

Maybe the trees know what's coming. Maybe they display their colorful, vibrant splendor each fall as a defiant challenge to the winter to come: "Do your worst! I have emblasoned myself in the minds-eye of many! I have made myself immortal by moving the human spirit to tears! Do your worst, Icy-One, your time is but short, fleeting, but the child I have inspired will carry that firey passion for a long time to come! Through her paintbrush, I will live forever!"

1 comment:

DannyG said...

Thanks for the verbal painting. I grew up in Southern N.H. (saw Keene on CNN this am with flooding). Your garden description also bring back memories of my pumpkin growing days as a kid/teenager.