Leaves of Hope

By: Dennis Bates

Leaves.

This time of the year they are everywhere in the Midwest, except on the trees. Those of you who live in parts of the country where there are no trees to speak of have no leaves. You’ll have to look at pictures of use your imaginations.

The Mommas and the Pappas performed a song in the late 60’s that begins with the words “All the leaves are brown.” An older  melancholy song called “Autumn Leaves” talks about them drifting by the window panes as they fall to the ground. I personally used a combination of those two songs to  set the tone for my next novel, “Except for the Eagles.”

Metaphorically, leaves capture the stages of  life so well at this time of year. Green all summer as they provide nourishment to the trees and other plants, most burst briefly into brilliant colors of red, orange and yellow sometime in the middle of October. In one last display they paint the Midwestern landscapes , and they save their very best for last.

I can’t imagine living somewhere where there were no leaves to turn colors in the fall. But their last hurrah is relatively short lived, and after they show their most breathtaking side, they turn brown,  fall to the ground and die. It’s almost sad. Life’s cycle is finished for another year, and the corpses being raked into piles and burned or turned into mulch are proof that the short, cold days of winter are just around the corner.

I do not happen to be one of the lunatic fringe that looks forward to cold, dark, icy days. I hate them. I like being warm. I also like being somewhere where flowers or other vegetation still grows, even if it’s in a semi dormant state. At least vegetation is there.

I know that’s just a slight bit whiny. I get that way sometimes, and I shouldn’t. Looking ahead, spring follows winter just as surely as winter follows fall. In a sense the autumn leaves merely complete God’s rhythm that the April flowers begin. Without the leaves falling to the ground and dying, there would be no new life in the spring. No tulips, no daffodils, no green leaves for the wind to play with when it blows.

I’d miss that too, so autumn is just one of those things that must occur. It’s spent leaves are only temporary in the big scheme of things. Yes, the individual leaves live for a short time and then die, but life itself goes on. The leaves of the season were privileged to be part of the greater, eternal whole called life.

When it comes right down to it,

“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22.

If it hadn’t been for the death of Adam, there would have been no need for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. What could be a more sure and certain reminder  of that hope of the Resurrection and that eternal life than the autumn leaves of red, gold, and brown?

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