Winslow Homer. Autumn. National Gallery of Art
Autumn creates space for dying.
What is left untended in the heat of summer
Needs mending in the Fall.
For earth and flesh must keep their seasons
And their liturgy.
The leaves fall, fall, dried and withered things
As if from some far and distant land.
Through their barren pathways up and down I wander,
Unmasking hidden gardens of my past.
O, how long my road has been.
Down, down, into the emptiness
That solitude has cast.
Where memories’ wavering echo
Relives the residue of suffering,
And the gray fog of sorrow drifts.
Where what is near seems far away,
A painless vastness among the stars.
Up, up, I slowly climb to heights
Where long lamenting shadows
Lay lonesome across the mountain stone.
And in the quiet stillness a melancholy roams.
Where way beyond the distant ridge I see a city white.
There the radiant face of Christ appears.
And it was wet with tears.
Autumn creates space for dying
And a broken heart for crying.
The Hidden Life Awakened (pg 176)
A further word from Betty:
The green has turned to golden. Some branches bare, their leaves have fallen. And I, His chosen, come again to ponder, within the changing pattern of creation the beauty in the dying, the forgiving face of God.
Again and again and again I came, for nothing stirred my soul at such a deep and maturing level as autumn in the mountains. It continues to affirm me in my belief that there is divine order in all things. It gives me a living sense of the holiness of time. Amid such beauty, I see God as an artist painting a picture; a picture that speaks of creation as always in process—a lamenting, longing, suffering love that redeems. God is the Artist painting on the canvas of time the mysterious grandeur of creation. In the silence, in the patient waiting, this sacred picture begins to speak. The beauty in the dying is God unraveling the mystery of the supreme, inexpressible, unrepeatable act of redemption: Christ pinned to Golgotha’s tree.