Sunday, November 2, 2008

An Autumn Morning in Minnesota

A star winked at me. Understand, it wasn’t just winking ore’ all the world, but it winked at me!
by Charlie Leck

It’s very early on Sunday morning. The changed clock, back to standard time, has jangled my inner timepiece and I couldn’t sleep again once I had awakened. So I am sitting in the quiet of my study, looking out into the darkness through the big sliding doors to the east, watching for the sun to take its first peek through the leafless treetops.

I am trying not to think about the election – only two days away – but it is difficult. I am pulled to the New York Times to find out what happened yesterday. I see that the Republicans have resurrected the scolding, prophetic voice of Pastor Jeremiah Wright; and I want to scream at people and have them understand that the Pastor may have a grain of truth swirling around in his message and perhaps we should seek it out. Perhaps in his nonsense there is some common sense. The great prophets of the scriptures were little understood in their own time; though, I guess, they aren’t well understood now either.

As well now, some aunt of Senator Obama is living illegally somewhere in New England. Gad! Are there no real issues about which we may think?

Whatever! To fend off these thoughts of politics, I’ll try thinking about the weather and how glorious it has been here this autumn. One thing about Minnesota – maybe two things – and that is: When the weather is nice here, it’s really nice, and when it’s bad, it’s really terrible. My wife and I consider it part of this great adventure of life and we really love it here in this northern place – no matter what it gives us in the way of weather.

When the temperatures drop and the snows begin to fall, we always count it a blessing. We feel we’re being cleansed – even purified – and the wonder of the whiteness spread from horizon to horizon is so spectacular that we are in awe of the scene.

In the meantime, we are going through our ultimate season here – crisp nights when we sleep with the window wide open and pull a giant down-comforter up, right underneath our chins. The tips of our noses and the rims of our ears get chilled, but we relish it during these few weeks before we are forced to shut tight the window and turn up the thermostat and build fires. It is that perfect in-between season that stimulates our senses and makes us feel young and vibrant again.

And then there are the sunsets. Is there anything more glorious than an autumn sunset here in the north? The colors painted across the western sky, as the sun disappears, are more spectacular than anything perceived by Monet or put upon canvas by any other artist. Only God can paint such a canvass.

As well, in the darkness at this time of year, the stars are brilliant and vibrant and fully twinkling. I’ve already been out, beneath them, for a walk with the dog this morning. We stopped together to look up at the sky, in wonder and awe. One star in particular caught my attention and I thought it was winking at me in particular and individually. The dog barked! I looked carefully at the star, realizing it had made this effort to catch my attention. Then, magically, it smiled kindly on me – the smile of my sister, Jean of blessed memory, and I felt overwhelmed with peacefulness. Suddenly the chilliness of the early morning air felt like the hand of God touching me, sending shivers of joy throughout my body.

It is not a day to think about elections or to worry about their outcomes. It is a day to enjoy the season’s comfort with which we have been so deeply blessed.

Ah ha! The morning sun has peeked in through the trees.

Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the world

Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day

The above lyrics are, of course, by Cat Stevens.

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