I think I’ve been hearing it even more this year than usual: Can summer really be over? It seems like it just started. Maybe it was the distinctly un-summerish weather that seemed to rule so long. Maybe it was the lateness of Labor Day, and its golden warmth followed so swiftly by cooling nights and mornings…and are the leaves beginning to turn ever-earlier?
And often, with the surprise seems to come an edge of regret. There seemed so little time for things that we dreamed we’d do when summer came…
In the autumn season of my human passage, I find similar thoughts come more frequently about life itself. The many things that might once have been imagined are less likely to come to pass. Why did I not do this? Why not go there? Where has the time gone? I assume this is part of being human; also, that there is no excuse to become maudlin about it!
Because, as one of my favorite poetic passages, reprinted here, says, every season is a time of God’s grace:
God made sun and moon to distinguish season,
and day and night,
and we cannot have the fruits of the earth
but in their seasons;
but God hath made no decree to distinguish the seasons
of his mercies;
in paradise the fruits were ripe the first minute,
and in heaven it is always autumn,
his mercies are ever at their maturity.
God never says you should have come yesterday;
but today he will hear you.
He brought light out of darkness,
not out of lesser light;
he can bring your summer out of winter,
though you have no spring.
All occasions invite his mercies,
and all times are his seasons. (John Donne)
Rather than regret the lost might’ve beens of summer, it is time to sample the rich beauty and ripeness of autumn, especially in our beloved New England. And instead of melancholy at the passage of life’s seasons, we can remember that all times are God’s seasons, and the fruits of God’s grace are always ready to be harvested.