I can see the beauty in this late November day. This is progress for me. It is not quite Thanksgiving, it is not Christmas, and, in this moment at least, I am not full of anticipation of either; I am simply out for a walk. The pumpkin that was formerly the perfect orange orb in the neighbor’s yard shrunk in on itself and is now deformed. The crimson and gold leaves have all fallen off the trees, leaving branches to pierce the ashen clouds. The flowers have withered and died. They are not yet covered in bright winter white. The landscape is full of grays and browns. It seems the natural world has reverted to a state of decay.
Even so, a smile creeps across my lips. My heart is light. In fall, the truth comes out. Flowers can no longer hide behind showy, fragrant blossoms. Their suitors, the bees and butterflies, have abandoned them to resume their natural course. The flowers’ final act, to drop the seeds of new life, is all that’s left before their winter rest. Autumn’s showcase, the troupe of leaves, have ended their dance to the ground. Now they will be crunched underfoot and nourish the soil, nature’s version of paying it forward.
I am surprised to find myself delighting in the shades of brown, the still-distinct shape of the oak leaves scattered along the roadside. The varying textures of the flowers, shadows of their former selves, yet ready to release the seeds that will ensure next spring will be decked out in all its glory.
It’s easy to find beauty when beauty abounds. It can be a challenge to find it on days like today. On this Thanksgiving eve, I am thankful for a new thing: The discovery of joy–perhaps even holiness–in the in-between.