The colors of fall arrived in my area this week, making for some very pleasant sights to see during my runs, bike rides, and time spent outdoors. The red maples, red oaks, buckeye, walnut, crab apple, wild cherry, and dogwood are all in different stages of changing colors.
The white pine trees have started the molting process, which entails the needles turning yellowish brown and falling to the ground. The spruces and firs are still very green, along with the sugar maple.
As I go about my daily activities, I can’t help but feel as if the colors are calling me to stop, look, and listen. The red and orange of the dawn’s rays, along with the leaves on the red maples and oaks catch my attention most. The flaming colors drawn my eyes to the fiery core, which makes me think God is trying to convey His love to the world in a quiet, yet bold way. The yellow and golden rays of the risen sun and walnut tree leaves also catch my attention with their offer of hope in the light.
Varying shades of blue in the sky take my mind to a calmer state as I traverse the paths encountered each day. The green grass and spruces offer a contrast to the bold colors while reminding me that life is ever-changing and evolving around me. The brown of the buckeye, along with its moldy smell, remind me that we are all dust and unto dust we shall return someday. In the interim, we have many opportunities to live, dream, and be a part of nature’s finest art.
Listening, Learning, Living
For many years now, I have felt as if October and the fall season are nature’s way of calling me to listen and reflect upon life. Through listening and reflecting, I have learned much over the years. In sharing what I have learned, I have helped others along the way.
In my experiences, I have found a great difference between hearing and listening. When I was a child, I mainly heard sounds and did not connect them to my thoughts. As an adult, I not only hear the sounds, but also reflect upon them and analyze how these sounds affect not only me, but also the world around me. This is the difference between hearing and listening—one calls your attention, and one not only calls your attention, but asks you to act.
Listening and Faith
In reading the Bible and other reflective writings, I have noticed many of the passages and stories talk about how God listened to His people, how Jesus listened to his Father in Heaven, and how other characters and people were brought to realize their faith and fate through listening. Though the Biblical times are long gone, I think those lessons of yesteryear still apply today, if we allow ourselves to open our ears, hearts, and minds.
If we allow our ears to hear, we give our heart an opportunity to feel. When we allow these feelings to surface, we give our minds the opportunity to grow, understand, and mature.
St. Paul speaks in his letters about the members of the body and how each member affects the members around it. Like the members of the body, the seasons in nature interact to create an effect upon life itself.
To me, October is the member that calls one to act upon what is seen, heard, and felt. Acting upon what we see and hear allows us to grow in faith so that we are prepared for the challenge of the unknown.
Or, to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “All that I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”
The sights and sounds I encountered this past week of October inspired the following poem:
Listen to October’s Spell
Neon sun in the fiery dawn
Convey God’s love and grace upon
The earth below the heaven’s skies
Where the glow of the light
And the shifting clouds
Provide uplifting moments without a sound,
Yet call the soul to listen and listen well
In the midst of October’s spell.
Golden sun at the rise of day
Above the cornfields spun in colors of maize
Lights the path of hope and promise
Through the days we have and the burdens placed upon us,
Allowing for a few moments’ solace
As the soul grows through events that call it
To stop, look, and listen, listen well
For the gifts within the stories October has to tell.
Turning leaves in various shades
Bob and weave as the breeze plays
The nature’s silent song so fine
To the measure of each moment’s time
And the rhythm of God’s grace
Through the ribbons of the skies space
To guide the body and the soul
Through trying times and joys to hold
Upon the journey as one goes
About learning what is and is not known,
Called to listen, and listen well
Through the spirit within October’s spell.
-Lisa A. Wisniewski
May we find a sense of peace and a bit of inspiration in listening to October. May the sights and sounds lead us to become greater members in the body of life as we help each other along the way.
Resources and Related Links
Difference between hearing and listening – http://keydifferences.com/difference-between-hearing-and-listening.html
Molting process in evergreens – http://forestry.usu.edu/htm/city-and-town/tree-care/my-pine-tree-is-losing-its-needles
Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes – http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/ralphwaldo118592.html