Remember doing this as a kid?

Click to Tweet & ShareRemember doing this as a kid? http://wp.me/p2D9hg-hp

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A quintessential New England autumn in Concord, Massachusetts

Autumn in New England this year has been positively spectacular. In central Massachusetts where I live, the color is peaking this week. I haven’t seen such brilliant reds, yellows and oranges in years. Driving down the Massachusetts Turnpike every morning greeted by the rolling hills of fiery colors tucked among still-green trees starts starts off my day just right.

This is autumn to me.

A Massachusetts autumn to me is not complete without a visit to my beloved Concord. Transcendentalism flowered here for a time in the mid 19th century represented by such luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Amos Bronson Alcott and Margaret Fuller. Nathaniel Hawthorne also called Concord his home although he did not subscribe to  Transcendentalism.

Little Women was written in Louisa’s bedroom – the physical setting for the book was Orchard House.

One of the most beloved books in children’s literature, Little Women, was written by the daughter of Bronson Alcott, Louisa May. I have been studying Louisa on and off all my life and since 2010, consider myself a full-time student. I blog regularly about her on Louisa May Alcott is My Passion.

Last Saturday I spent some time at the Concord Free Public Library in their Special Collections room pouring over the diary of Louisa’s oldest sister Anna (aka, Meg in Little Women). The bright sun and cool, crisp air beckoned and I took the walk that Louisa and so many other famous authors walked, down historic Lexington Road, to her home (the setting for Little Women), Orchard House.

Between the gorgeous day and beautiful trees, the lovely antique homes and the history I pondered while walking … you can perhaps appreciate why being in Concord in autumn is a mystical experience for me.

Enjoy this virtual tour and I hope someday you can visit this special place too. If you have visited, share a comment about your experience. We’d love to hear!

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Click to Tweet & Share: Concord in autumn … mystical… join me for a virtual tour of fiery leaves, antique homes & extraordinary history http://wp.me/p2D9hg-gm

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God weaves His tales through the natural world

I believe in God. And I can see evidence of His existence and care for humanity, told through the stories He has left for me to find.

The more I immerse myself in God, the more these stories come to life. I’d like to show you what I saw yesterday during my lunchtime walk.

It’s October. Cool air and gray rainy days are becoming more frequent. Today a soft rain fell, covering the land in a shimmering mist.

The leaves are peaking here in Massachusetts, turning vivid shades of red, orange and yellow. They flash their colors for all to see only to fall to the ground.

Off in the distance I saw a tree, its fallen leaves creating a colorful circle around the trunk.

I started to think: leaves derive their sustenance
from the tree. Once the leaves fall, they will shrivel
up and die.

God was telling me a story.

“I am the tree,” He says, “and each of you are leaves. If you remain connected to the tree, you will flourish. If you decide to fall away, you will die.”

Reflecting on that thought (not unlike John 15:5 when Jesus calls Himself the vine and we the branches), I began examining the leaves on the ground.

Some were still supple and beautifully adorned, just waiting to be admired. Others were brown and dry despite the mist.

And it occurred to me: we, like these leaves, may fall away from our Source of Life and flourish for a time but eventually, the color will fade and life will ebb away until we too are brown and dry.

Even a leaf covered with raindrops cannot survive forever on its own.  The drops will evaporate and the leaf will wither. It needs the tree to live.

Thus the story of the vital relationship between God and humanity, told through His creation.

And there is more to this story.

No healthy tree bears only one leaf. Healthy trees are covered with leaves providing the traveler with relief from the heat under shady branches.

God did not intend for us to be alone. Without each other, we also wither and die.

He means for us to be a community, just like He as a Trinitarian God, forms the perfect community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

A seamless circle of love, continuous and unbroken for all eternity. Perfect love, perfect harmony and we are invited to join.

And unlike leaves which are temporal, dressed in their best colors for a brief moment before fading and dying, we can become perfected as the image of God we were meant to be.

So long as we stay connected to the tree.

What story is God sharing with you today?

Click to Tweet & Share: God weaves His tales through the natural world. He told me one today, how about you? http://wp.me/p2D9hg-fU

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A Radical Scheme – guest post by Lori Erickson of Spiritual Travels

Extravagance in my neighbor’s yard (Lori Erickson photo)

“Nature is, above all, profligate. Don’t believe them when they tell you how economical and thrifty nature is, whose leaves return to the soil. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to leave them on the tree in the first place? This deciduous business alone is a radical scheme, the brainchild of a deranged manic-depressive with limitless capital. Extravagance! …”

So writes Annie Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. I love that line about this deciduous business being a radical scheme, the brainchild of a manic-depressive with limitless capital. When I took a walk this morning, I stood beneath a neighbor’s maple in a shower of shimmering leaves, each one the product of a hundred sunny days, watching as they twirled and tumbled about me, drawn toward earth in a dance they will take just once. Extravagance indeed.

Click here to read the rest …

Click to Tweet & Share: Guest Post by The Holy Rover: The extravagance of Autumn http://wp.me/p2D9hg-f5

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Yellow, gold, orange, scarlet … the colors of Autumn

Autumn … one of the many reasons why I will never leave New England. While out on my lunchtime walk on the Brook Path in Wellesley, the color orange followed me everywhere.

It began with this:

This fungi really intrigued me, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen such a brilliant color of orange on a mushroom!

If you know what kind of mushroom this is, please comment and share your knowledge.

Emerging from the Brook Path, the red and orange leaves made their presence known:

It seems appropriate then to close this post with a short poem about this lovely time of year:

Autumn

Alexander Lawrence Posey

In the dreamy silence
Of the afternoon, a
Cloth of gold is woven
Over wood and prairie;
And the jaybird, newly
Fallen from the heaven,
Scatters cordial greeting,
And the air is filled with
Scarlet leaves, that, dropping
Rise again, as ever,
With a useless sigh for
Rest–and it is Autumn.

What signs of Autumn are you seeing in your world?

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