Nov 11 2015

Reflections on Autumn

_DSC2202“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

Well, another fall has come and gone. Oh, I know it’s just November 11 but that’s the talk I hear from a lot of nature photographers.  It seems like for many the only thing good about autumn is the two to three weeks of beautiful fall foliage.  Considering how spectacular those two to three weeks can be I kind of understand where they’re coming from—anything after that pales in comparison.  Perhaps, but I’m not quite sure about that.  I love photographing fall foliage as much as anyone else but I believe autumn has so much more to offer than just colorful leaves and reflections.

_CES1077Where I live in western Kentucky we are well past peak fall foliage. Many trees are already bare and the rest of them will be soon.   Even so, I’m excited because I know before long the great flocks of snow and speckled geese will be arriving at the Wildlife Management Area nearby.  They will be joined by tundra swans and a number of other species that we do not see the rest of the year.  The return of the birds is as much a part of autumn as the turning of the leaves.

Another thing I like about late fall is the new vistas that are available.   When the trees are bare you can see into places and spaces not possible when the trees are covered with leaves.  A walk in the woods takes on a whole new look and feeling in late autumn.  The incredible patterns of tree branches hidden when covered with leaves in and of themselves become a wonder to behold.  In some ways there is more to see in late fall than at other times of the year.

_CES1499

Upon reflection it seems kind of strange that so many people associate autumn primarily with colorful leaves. There is certainly far more to fall than beautiful foliage.  Perhaps if we could remember this we would enjoy the season more.  And that goes for each of the seasons.  Winter is about more than snow, spring is about more than flowers blooming, and summer is about more than sunny days.  The Creator has blessed us with so much to see, experience and enjoy throughout the entire year but if we are not careful we’ll miss a lot of it.  I suggest we be careful…

–Chuck

(I took the pictures shown above near my home in Henderson County, Kentucky.)

 


Mar 20 2014

Seasons and Sustainability

WV-Hawksnest-SP-598-lrToday is a day a lot of folks have been waiting for.  It’s the first day of spring.  Of course that doesn’t mean the weather is automatically going to change from cold to warm but it does, at least, signal that there won’t be much more cold weather to come.  This truly has seemed like a long winter.  Here in western Kentucky the cold weather actually arrived prior to the official start of winter and it seems to have held on for dear life ever since.  I don’t mind the cold that much myself but I am one of those looking forward to spring.  It’s a great time of the year and probably my favorite season to photograph.

dutchmen's-britchesThose who have been worried that spring wasn’t coming had no need to be concerned.  God Himself has guaranteed that the four seasons will continue as long as the earth remains.  This, in fact, was what God told Noah after the ark finally landed.  God said He would never destroy all living creatures again and then added, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” (Genesis 8:22)  Until the earth is no more the seasons will remain, as will day and night, for the God who created the world is committed to its continuation and sustainability.  That is certainly good to know.

The question that should haunt a lot of people today is whether they are also committed to its continuation and sustainability.  Far too many people are only concerned about the earth meeting their needs here and now.  They are not thinking about the fact that how we use the earth’s resources today will determine what the generations that follow us will inherit and how they will live their lives.  If what we leave for those who follow us is a depletion of the planet’s resources, dirty air and water, and an altered climate we are guilty of a horrible sin.

Westerm-CottontailGod clearly reveals that He stands committed to keeping the earth going but as with so many other things, He depends in part on us to make sure that His will is done.  Are you doing your part?  To insure a viable future for those who will follow us we must!

–Chuck

(I took the top image at Hawksnest State Park in WV, the Dutchmen’s breeches in Great Smoky Mountains NP, and the western cottontail at Devil’s Towers N.M. in Wyoming.)


Sep 22 2010

The Testimony of the Seasons

CO-Rocky-Mountain-NP-tundra-003A little after 11:00 tonight autumn will officially begin.  I’d be more excited about that if they weren’t predicting a high of 94 degrees here tomorrow.  I’ve seen a number of recent news articles indicating that this summer has been the hottest one on record.  This fall may prove to be warmer than normal too.  Still, I have no doubt that the temperatures will soon be more comfortable (for me, anyway) and that the annual brilliant show of autumn colors will shortly begin to make an appearance.

The changing of the seasons is actually something God has promised.  In Genesis 8:22 it says, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”  This is the promise God gave to Noah following the Flood.  Much later the prophet Daniel would remind others that it is God who causes the seasons to change.  He said, “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.  He changes time and seasons…”  (Daniel 2:20-21)

CO-Maroon-Bells-021Even further down the road the apostle Paul spoke of God being behind the changing seasons and how this bears witness to His goodness and faithfulness.  Speaking to a group in Lystra who thought he and Barnabas were Hermes and Zeus because they healed a crippled man, Paul said “turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.  In the past, he let all nations go their own way.  Yet he has not left himself without testimony.  He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”

As the seasons change once again today we are reminded that God has ordered this and that it is part of His good plan for Creation.  We are also reminded that the One who consistently brings this cyclic succession is faithful and can be counted on.  This truly is the testimony of the seasons!

–Chuck

(The top image I took at Rocky Mountain National Park in late September.  The bottom picture of Maroon Bells was also taken in Colorado about the same season of the year.)


Jun 23 2010

A Summer Prayer

Barren-RiverSummer is officially here, having arrived just two days ago.  It has felt like summer around here, however, for quite some time.  Where I live summer is characterized by the “3 Hs”: Hot, Humid and Hazy.  The first two are dominating the scene right now.  

Summer is my least favorite season.  I find the heat terribly oppressive and draining.   It is not a time of year I find conducive to prayer (other than prayers that God will help me survive) but I came across a summer prayer earlier today that I like a lot and want to share with you.  It was written by James Vanden Bosch.

God of creation, God of the seasons, bless your creatures with seasons of delight.  Lord of the Sabbath, you have established the rhythms of life, establish in us also the rhythms for human prospering; grant us the good sense to enjoy Sabbath rest in this season.  Grant us, moreover, wisdom to know that there is a time to play, a time to cease from our labors, a time to sense majesty in a blue sky, richness in green grass, love in faithful friends, and joy in our being.  Grant us, then, blue skies this summer, and green grass; grant us faithful friends and the time, strength, and spirit for play.  Grant us the wit to know the goodness of this creation, which, blind, defiant, or ungrateful, we despoil.  Send our roots rain; our hearts ease, so that we may show in our lives that we can live rightly in this season of our lives and see it as if for the first time, in wonder, in awe, and in a spirit of thanksgiving. Amen.

I have a feeling Bosch must live somewhere like Rob where it doesn’t get that hot but I’m going to try to maintain the attitude of gratitude that this prayer calls forth despite the heat, humidity and haze.  If nothing else, I’ll give thanks for air conditioning!

–Chuck

(The image above was taken near Barren River State Park in central Kentucky.)