Hiking in the fall always elicits the same reaction from me–longing. I remember the first time I saw those colorful trees padding the mountains like God’s paintbrushes waiting to be used. All I could think was, “Where have you been for the last 22 years of my life?” Growing up in New Orleans, I never knew fall existed. One frigid day, somewhere around January it gets so cold that the leaves fall off the trees. Splat. Fall. One day. There is no transition, no color. I only halfheartedly believed the pictures I saw of fall foliage. Never did I dream of the impact it would have on me when I was up close and personal with its radiance.
Luckily, I have a husband who is enamored with trees. On a daily basis he points out their curvy trunks, their varied foliage, and the way the light filters through in beams. Walking with him is like putting on special 3D glasses through which to see the magic of trees. If it weren’t for him I’d probably miss it all. Although I long for daily walks to check out the colors changing, the mile long lists, and the dog tired bones seem to take precedence in my life. And I forget the magnificence unfolding around me.
So it is with just about everything in my life. The aura and awe of God’s paintbrushes are all around. I just forget they are there; forget to put myself in places where I can be a part of them. Caught up in my own sense of control and order, I almost say no to that tiny child’s hand beckoning for a rain bath, or the offer of a moonlit bonfire. And I would’ve missed the sacred spontaneity of intimacy. How grateful I am for children, friends, and fellow journeyers on the way, who pull me out into the open and hand me 3D glasses. Their wide-eyed grins, inspiring music, dance therapy parties, and hikes through life help me shed my cocoon and step out toward the light.