A few thoughts about golden leaves and graying hair

Today has been another crisp, gorgeous fall day in Central Ohio. I love it here, and while I love all the seasons, I think I love fall the best. As I’ve gotten older, the changing color of the leaves always evokes in me a happy-sad, bitter-sweet, contentment alloyed with an ever-keener sense of unrequited longing in my soul.

I know that it’s the Triune God I long for, and the arrival of the fall colors is a quiet, beautiful harbinger of the eventual end of this earthly life and the commencement of the life to come. Nature’s resplendent colors during this season are, at least for me, a reminder that those of us who are fortunate enough to live the allotted “three score and ten” years (I’ve only lived two score and ten of them, thus far, but I have my fingers prayerfully crossed that more will follow) must not forget that winter is  . . . not far off.

With gratitude, joy, and peace, I want to welcome the approaching winter of my life, even though it may be a ways away just yet. But most of all, I pray the Lord will grant me the graces necessary to be ready to go be with Him on that day when all the leaves of my life have fallen and the snow lays thick upon the frozen ground. How I want to be with Him and His friends forever in that land of eternal spring!

“I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!” (Psalm 27:13)

“The glory of young men is their strength, but the beauty of old men is their gray hair” (Proverbs 20:29).
The autumn leaves are a reminder to me of the time of life I am in now. Turning 50 this year, my ever-graying hair is analogous to the leaves turning from deep green to red and orange. Winter will be here soon enough, and the leaves will  fall to the ground. The endless cycle of life.
Rural Ohio, where we live, experiences a beautiful explosion of color each autumn. It’s a glorious time of year. I learn something new and deeper, each year. These colors are a faded signpost of muted glory pointing off into the distance, down this road I am travelling, toward a fog bank topped by a dark cloud with a piercingly brilliant, radiant, golden explosion of light beyond it.
The leaves are bright and beautiful, but not for long. Winter will be here soon.
This is a house I pass by on my short drive into town. This particular tree is quite spectacular.
These are a few of the lovely sunset maples in our front yard that grace the landscape with their magnificent fall colors. Soon, their leaves will all be gone. Just a memory of what once was and the barest hint of the glory yet to come. But first, winter, frigid and gray. Bleak. And then . . . can you feel it? Spring is not far off . . .


  1. Amanda Borenstadt

    Profound and beautiful. I turned 40 this year, so I feel the autumn of my life fast approaching… well, in between keeping up with twin 9 year olds. Wonderful pictures! Where we live in California it doesn't seem much like fall yet.

  2. Judy

    Thank you, Patrick. I, too, love fall the best and really miss the fall in my home state of MN. I especially miss the snow on all the pine trees covered in snow, or the birch, maple and oak covered in hoar frost in the cold of the winter….oh well; I have pictures!Christ's peace!

  3. Susan L

    Beautiful pictures, Patrick. I am 48 and see that winter approaching as well. I visit my Mom in the assisted living and can see so much in the elderly that live there. I feel it. What helps me from delving too far into it (the latter years) are my two youngest kids (ages 4 and 7).God is so good.

  4. Patty Bonds

    Yeah, they are sowing the winter rye here. Not that that reminds me of anything except how much I miss four seasons. Age has a beautiful way of helping us detach from this life and start to yearn for our real home. I feel it too!

  5. Tom

    I know exactly the feeling you describe Patrick. A longing to see the beauty of fall last longer combined with a sadness at the impending winter and a wondering how many more fall seasons are in store for me to enjoy. Still quite a few I hope, but nonetheless with each year that goes by, it makes you think…. No doubt the longing is to see the face of God while the sadness is a result of the human condition and its reluctance to let go of the things of this world.God's Peace.

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