This morning, I met Fall. Driving back to the house from dropping off my son, I crested the hill of a busy residential street. Just then a gust of wind shook the limbs of the trees overhead, causing a patchwork quilt of yellow leaves and blue sky to be shaken out before me.
I've been waiting. Fall here in East Texas is not often remarkable. We do have the occasional turn of spectacular fall color, but most years the surrender from summer to winter is marked by an unobtrusive passage from green, to pale green to yellow to lawn carpet, with patches of red thrown in.
While there's nothing much for leaf looky-loos to get excited about, I have come each year to anticipate the leaf showers. Around our house, particularly in the back yard, and lining some of my favorite well-traveled back roads, are elm trees. I love the shape of these trees. They form a graceful umbrella canopy, with narrow limbs hanging down here and there like wayward tendrils of hair. When the wind blows, the trees sway gently. The movement mesmerizes me on the too-rare occasions when I stop, still and watch.
Seeing those leaves swirl up over the hood of the car this morning, bouncing against my windshield made me smile. It's not cool enough to require a jacket this morning, but autumn has made its entrance.
Once I arrived home, I walked out under one of the big elm trees, looking up as gusts of wind brought the leaves down around me like a light fall of snow. Just above, patches of white clouds streaked so quickly across the blue sky, it was as though everything outside the graceful, downward arc of leaves moved in fast motion. Within: peace. Without: the world.
I didn't pray, not consciously. But it occurs to me now I was obeying one of the commands I too often ignore.
Be still and know that I am God.