The mornings lately are sliding into autumn. That coolness settles in the air and the sun takes a while longer to rise. Buildings surround me, but I catch glimpses of the park, and I see trees on television whenever I watch television these days, and I see leaves turning. I saw it on the way to Maine. Splashes of red, orange, rust. Who knew rust could be so pretty against the slowly fading green?
I have settled into a routine of fatigue. I wake up around 4 o’clock every morning, and I think about my day. I pray nervousness doesn’t completely swallow me in front of the teenagers I get to see this school year. I am in love with those kids. They’re high-energy, nothing like the way we were back when I went to seminary, starting some 18 years ago.
A friend and I were instant messaging. A high school friend. We both teach freshmen, who we disbelieve were born the same year we graduated from high school. Something seems really out of whack here. Either we or they are anachronisms; can we possibly exist (and even interact!) in the same space and time, the same plane, the same dimension? We can, and we do. It’s nothing short of a miracle.
The contrast wouldn’t be so vibrant if it weren’t so obvious. This time of year, the same trees’ leaves turn red, gold, brown, before bursting into green come springtime. Those trees can’t do it forever, though. They cycle with the seasons, and they also get older. Both processes are one process, and the trees develop character while starting to look a little tougher and more worn.
And yet, they share the same soil as the whippersnappers, which term clicked for me just now. The newer trees are a little more bendy in the breeze, and their branches whip! and snap! as the air moves a slight chill into the region. Their leaves may hold their green for a few more weeks or months, because the same energy from our mutual soil sustains a smaller, younger tree longer perhaps, while those trees that are more aged are ready to wind down and brace themselves against the cold. So we shamelessly, proudly show our reds and oranges and rusts amidst all this lush, greying verdance that’s just as proud.
And the contrast wouldn’t be so vibrant if it weren’t so obvious.
Who knew rust could be so pretty against the slowly fading green?