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Everything about autumn can be spiritual

Kentucky Coffee Tree leaves near St. Joe’s Lake at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

Something spiritual is all around us.

If one lives in Indiana and in many places in the northern hemisphere, everything about autumn can be spiritual – spiritual in the sense of the possibilities presented to pull us into someone greater than ourselves, some mystery beautiful, intricate and inspiring.

The color of leaves in Indiana’s autumn is usually vibrant shades of gold, orange, red, yellow and fading shades of green. A painter’s palette of colors easily recognized as autumn’s signature. Fallen leaves crunch under our footsteps; the piles of fallen leaves create mounds children jump into and out of, scatter and regather for more jumping and laughter.

Then Jesus said: allow the children to come to me. … Don’t forbid them because it is to people like these that the kingdom of heaven is given. (Matthew 9:14)

Farmers harvest the yields of their faithful labor and the gifts of nature – rain, sun, temperatures, life-giving seeds.

As tomatoes make their last stand against cold weather, apples ripen for the picking; homemade apple cider and apple butter appear in family kitchens, farmers’ markets and roadside stands.

In the morning say in your heart: O God, here is another day given me to love and serve you. Be glad of it.
-St. Mother Theodore Guerin

Birds fly instinctively to winter homes. Squirrels scamper and scurry as they gather acorns, seed pods and black walnuts for their autumnal feasts.

We are here on the planet only once and we may as well get a feel for the place.
-Annie Dillard, Teaching A Stone To Talk

After harvest, pumpkins and various shapes and sizes of gourds show up on house porches and table displays. Chrysanthemums add splashes of color in so many places – seemingly their only purpose to delight the eye.

I try to remember…when autumn flares out at last, boisterous and like us longing to stay – how everything lives, shifting from one bright vision to another …
-Mary Oliver, A Poet’s Nod to Autumn

The autumnal equinox marks the “exact moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above Earth’s equator” (timeanddate.com).  Imagine – the exact moment …

The heavens declare the glory of the Creator; the firmament proclaims the handiwork of love.
-Nan C. Merrill, Psalm 19; Psalms for Praying

Summer fades as autumn splashes us with colors, aromas, refreshing weather, playful moments, wonderful food and so many reasons to simply stand and look and wonder.

Let’s remember to look, listen, smell, taste, and feel autumn.

Something spiritual is all around us.

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Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise was the general superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods from 2006-2016. She previously served as a high school teacher, college administrator, postulant/novice director and director of advancement and communications for the Congregation. Currently, Sister Denise serves the Congregation in various volunteer positions.

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  1. Avatar Peg Benson on October 3, 2017 at 8:19 am

    “The trees, the trees, just holding on to the old, holy ways.”
    Mary Oliver, in her book, Evidence.

  2. Avatar Jean Brown on October 3, 2017 at 10:25 am

    “Summer fades as autumn splashes us”….what a great vision all your words provide to me! I wonder if autumn is saying to us “Wake up and see all around you what has been in the making since winter last hid everything…this is the celebration I have been planning for you…enjoy!

    Thank you, S. Denise for reminding me I’m invited to come to the party.

  3. Avatar Jean kenny, S.P. on October 3, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Just beautiful and so true, Denise. Thanks for your reflection on the beauty of autumn. It is God’s re-creation of a new season!
    Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is such a beautiful place to celebrate autumn.

  4. Avatar Mary Tomlinson on October 9, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Denise. Thanks for this. Much to ponder. Mary

  5. Avatar NANCY KREMER on October 10, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    As I visit “the Woods” often throughout the year
    I must admit, that the smells of spring, while intoxicating have no match for the brilliance of autumn splendor enjoyed through October until the last leave falls!
    Whenever I need respite I let my mind travel to our Woods, and reflect on its serenity and beauty, and…
    I recall “I have promises and miles to go!”

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