Monday, October 1, 2012
A Surfeit of Beauty
A nearby town is built around several lakes. Last night we were driving the little isthmus of land between two of those lakes.
We saw a young bicyclist standing alongside his upturned bike,madly whirling back and forth with a camera.
The sun was melting into one lake, leaving puddles of glorious pinks and oranges squiggled with gold and lead.
From the other lake a full, brazen moon was rising, leaving a wake of cool, rippling silver.
I empathized with the poor man.
Within seconds the moon would realize that her ample curves were on public display and she’d scurry coyly high up to the heavens as her shining trail evaporated.
The liquified sun would be mopped up
leaving only the dark surface of the water and a few stray rosy streaks.
I empathize because this autumn has been one of heart-stopping, glorious, ephemeral beauty.
The skies, from sunup to sunset and beyond provide a canvas of saturated color. From their first day of creation till now our skies have been practicing the perfection of hue and variety they've achieved this fall.
The heavens themselves would provide enough eclectic beauty to prompt the soul’s deepest song of response. Amateur photographers breathe sincere thanks for digital cameras as we snap our ten millionth sky photo of the season.
But does creation leave us content with the glories of the skies?
No. It is piling on the beauties of the earth with broad strokes of color never to be replicated in a crayon box or a painter’s palette.
Nature grabbed every shade of every pigment from every nook and cranny where they have been lying, forgotten, for many many autumns, and tossed them over the land willy-nilly, in gleeful disregard for all rules governing contrasting and complimentary colors.
And we are left whirling madly from one scandalously flagrant beauty to another, trying to take it all in before
it gathers itself back into hidden corners and the somber grays and browns move in.
But we are almost grateful for the monochrome season to come. Our finite hearts and minds and eyes have their limits. Too much technicolor beauty this side of glory and we might burst.
God knows we can, for now, handle only small doses of wonder. In His grace He assures us that, unbelievably, the best is yet to come.