In the autumn of the year: A time to remember some lessons and blessings Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011 -- 1:00 AM

Editor's View by Mary C. Uhler

Although I love spring, autumn is also a special time of the year. There are things I like about autumn, but there are things that bother me, too.

We live on a street lined with trees on both sides of the road. I enjoy watching the leaves on the trees change from green to yellow, gold, and red. What a beautiful sight!

But those leaves start falling from the trees, and that means lots of blowing and raking. We get our yard clear of leaves and pile them on the curb to be picked up, then we start again as more leaves fall. Of course, they don’t all fall at the same time. It’s frustrating when we think we’ve gotten the leaves all cleared and wake up the next morning to see the lawn full again — many of them having blown in from our neighbors’ yards.

A Prayer in Autumn for Country Living
Good and generous Lord, You have once more brought the year full circle through planting and growing and ripening to harvest time, and autumn.
We thank You for the sun and the wind, the rain and the dew, the minerals of the earth and all the plants that grow, and all the beasts and birds of farm and field. We marvel at Your wonderful ways of bringing food from the earth for man’s good.
Dear God, help us to use Your rich gifts as You want us to. Teach us to share them with our neighbor when he is in need. Make us see, in the marvelous succession of seasons, and in the growth and ripening of our crops, the merciful, generous hand of Your divine providence.
Help us to realize, too, that if we keep Your commandments and live according to the inspirations of Your grace, we shall also reap a plentiful harvest in the autumn of our lifetimes: a harvest that we will be able to enjoy for ever and ever, where no rust can destroy, nor blight spoil any least part of it.

I also love the fall flowers such as chrysanthemums, as well as the pumpkins and squash. They make great decorations and they’re good to eat, too (the pumpkins and squash, that is).

Changing seasons teach us lessons

However, the autumn trees, plants, and vegetables remind us of the coming winter. We know that it’s getting colder and darker. While it’s wonderful to take a walk on a crisp autumn day, it won’t be so nice to walk in a foot of snow with ice underneath.

The changing seasons are a great part of our life in Wisconsin. I wouldn’t want to live in the same climate or environment all year. And I think they teach us some lessons for life.

Perhaps the first lesson is to remember to be grateful to God our creator for the earth and all its beauty and bounty.  When we see the changing seasons, I don’t know who could easily deny the hand of a divine being in how nature works.

We should also be reminded that we are caretakers of this planet and all of its inhabitants. We should take care of our earth and the environment surrounding it so that future generations will survive and thrive, too. It means making recycling, replanting trees, and conserving our natural resources priorities in our daily lives.

Our lives change, too

The changing seasons are also a reminder that our own lives change, too. We grow from babies to children to adults. Our hair changes color, just like the leaves. We need to take care of our own health, but no matter how well we do, we will eventually die. We should be prepared for that eventuality by taking care of our spiritual life, too.

We were reminded of that fact in the Gospel for last weekend with the story of the 10 virgins waiting for the bridegroom. Five were foolish and did not bring any oil with them. Five were wise and brought oil, so they were prepared when the bridegroom came at midnight.

The bridegroom (like God) said, “Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” We, too, do not know when we will die, but we must be ready by living as a disciple of Christ at all times.

Let us enjoy the autumn of the year and the autumn of our lives, thanking God for our blessings, sharing them with others, and caring for our world. As inspiration, I share the prayer at right from the Rural Life Prayerbook of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference.