the twilight of fall

C.S. Lewis has famously called spring the waiting room of the world.

And how much longing there is in those months of March, April and May when every glance toward a tree is straining to see a centimeter of green budding on the tips. Every morning is hopeful for white turned to brown, turned to growth. We wait and wait and wait in spring.

But fall is another matter entirely. Fall is that rare wonder of blessing that is granted practically upon our first inclination to want it.

Our eyes are suddenly catching glimpses of orange, red and yellow. Everything is crisp and crunchy. And how we love it. We love it so much we can hardly imagine that we ever  wished it to be any other way. Summer is scorned in the long shadow of autumn’s glory.

Yet as soon as it is at its very prime–the peak has come–it is already hinting at its departure. The air is too crisp, it freezes in our nose. The leaves are all crunch and no color.

The blessing of fall comes while we yet enjoy the lingering warmth of summer and it slips away long before we’re ready. If spring is the waiting room, fall is the final arrival and last goodbye. It is the sweet hymn that carries us to death. It is the twilight before all the lights go out.

Was ever dying so beautiful as it is in fall? Fall shows us the beauty that dying ought to be. Dying may be the most beautiful, painful part of living. Jesus died on a cross. All pain and horror, yet beautiful forgiveness was won.

Then three days of darkest winter and spring came again.

So, yes, fall is the twilight that leads to death. And death is that stingless, victory-less gateway to life. So white and cold it will have no taste in my mouth. It is the blink that brings us to eternity.