As a little girl in the Caribbean, I never experienced the distinctive beauty of four seasons. So in my fertile imagination as an avid reader, I imagined what each season was like and how I would experience it if given a chance. When my family moved to New York in the spring of 1978, with its promise of new beginnings came my opportunity to confirm my thoughts about the seasons.
When we emigrated, there was nothing spring-like about that time of year except the calendar, since New York had recently experienced one of the worst snowstorms in its history. I distinctly remember the cold, being woefully underdressed and ultimately frostbitten. I saw other kids playing outside at recess though there were piles of melting snow around the playground and instantly decided that spring was not what I envisioned and therefore it was not for me.
But as I got acclimated to my surroundings, I slowly but surely came to enjoy the beauty of autumn.
There were many evenings as I walked home from school down a long city block that I took great pleasure in strutting through piles of brown leaves and listening to them crunch beneath my feet. That crunch brought such pleasure that I changed my path to walk where the leaves fell.
My uncle caught me one day as I invariably smiled as those leaves were crushed, and he said, “You really enjoy that don’t you?”
I might have smiled and yelled, “YES.”
Crackle. Crackle. Crackle.
The scientific name for this process is called abscission, which means to cut away. It is the natural detachment of parts of a plant, typically dead leaves or ripe fruit. Abscission, though natural, happens because the tree is not receiving chlorophyll which is the light absorbing mechanism.
Perhaps we all need to have leaves shed during the autumn of our lives. Lifeless leaves that aren’t receiving the Light of Christ.
Lifeless leaves that show up in hardened attitudes and hardened hearts toward those that we are called to love – our families, our neighbors, and our community. Comatose leaves of divisiveness, jealousy, envy, and all the ills they bring need to fall and then be crunched underfoot. Leaves of harsh words and impure thoughts that wreak more harm and do no good. Leaves of pride and false attitudes.
Jesus knew we weren’t impervious to these leaves – He promises to prune us so that we can yield more fruit creating opportunities for new and fruitful beginnings. (see John 15:1-8)
Periodically our dead leaves need to fall and be crushed.
Falling leaves being crushed underfoot is one of my favorite autumn memories because they signify growth and necessary change and this change was music to my young ears. As a child, I recognized that like those tall trees on my block we too have the opportunity to grow by shedding. As we grow in our walk with Christ, our dead leaves will fall off our trees.
Crackle. Crackle. Crackle. The welcome sound of new beginnings.Leave a Comment
Anastasia Corbin says
Fall has always been my favorite season! Thank you so much for this devotional. I will now look at leaves in a new way.
Thank you for your words. They are encouraging. A thought came to me at the end of your story that after fall comes winter. My thought was sometime when God prunes us winter comes and it a struggle. But then new leaves come in the spring and all is well again or even better. 🙂
Thank again for sharing.
Anastasia, thank you for reading and stopping by.
This is a really cool way at looking at Gods pruning of our vines of our lives! I especially love how you link it to attitudes of divisiveness and it’s a message to let go, let God…let Go D xxx
Always let go and let God.
Michele Morin says
What a blessing to find you here this morning, Nylse!
And thank you for the gift of a new word: abscission. As the fall leaves crunch under my feet, I’ll be praying to see this process of lifeless things falling away in my own life during these autumn days.
Abscission was a revelation for me also, but I’m always amazed when I write how God ties everything together.
Once more, thank you for your thoughtful comment.
A lovely – and timely – beginning to a bright autumn morning.
Thank you, Nylse
It’s a perfect fall day here in PA to read this devotion. Thanks for sharing!
Lynn D. Morrissey says
What a lovely post for many reasons. I too have loved autumn in its blazing glory, the beauty before those leaves fall. And I love the crisp air that gives me a certain energy and vigor. Alas, it is still summer in St. Louis! Ugh. I feel pretty lifeless. I wish it would turn cooler. And staying attached to the dead things in my life leaves me pretty lifeless too. I love the shedding process you describe, and, like Michelle, I’ve learned a new word from you: abscission. And oh how I love to learn new words! Thank you. I love new beginnings, too,–fresh starts, tabula rasa–and I appreciate the reminder from you. I must remember that for me as a Christian, God gives me each new day as a new beginning in Him. I need to cooperate with His process of abscission, and not fight it so much. I need to let my leaves fall! Thank you so much for sharing.
Thank you and thank God for the process of abscission and the opportunity for new beginnings.
wOw! is pretty much how I express my response to your writing.
….and that thru falling leave and falling tears.
Your welcome and may you have new beginnings also.
Pearl Allard says
Nylse, the music of crunching and crackling leaves will hold new meaning now! May He shave the calluses off our hearts to make way for the new beginnings. Thank you!
The sound of crunching leaves really is music to my ears. I kind of miss the feeling of walking through those leaves but thank God that falling represents new beginnings.
This was not only delightful but you also taught me something new. Thank-you so much for sharing Nylse.
Have a blessed day all,
I’ve always loved this time of the year…now I will appreciate it even more with this beautiful analogy. I am encouraged.
Theresa Boedeker says
Great analogy. I do need dead and useless things pruned so new life will come about. And you know what? That tree without any leaves has a beauty all its own. You see the structure and form. And then soon, new leaves cover it again in growth.
Fall…my favorite time of year! Now I can even look at it even better with your analogy! A good time to prune away the bad, dusty, old, ready to change and start making new for spring! Love it! Thanks for sharing! P.S. I love crunching the leaves too! 🙂
Beth Williams says
I love Autumn with its beautiful color palate & smells of treats baking. I also realize that Autumn is a time of renewal when dead stuff falls off (pruning). That can be a painful process, but necessary. If we are to grow as Christians we need to be pruned of old thoughts, ideas & ways of living. God has gently pruned me through trials. I have witnessed my personal growth. Thank you for teaching us a new word: abscission. I pray I allow God to abscission anything bad in my life. This world could use abscission also!
Rebecca L Jones says
I just made a Pinterest board, called Fall In Love With Jesus, and I wrote blog post about pruning. We definitely need His light, time to shed the dead leaves.
Sarah Geringer says
Nylse, it is so nice to see you on Incourage! I live in the woods, and I love the scent of the fallen leaves. Thank you for teaching me a spiritual metaphor–it will be in my mind this week.
Do you walk through the leaves and enjoy the crackling sound?
Blessings to you.
Nylse – I know this post was from a few days ago so I hope you see this comment, but even if you don’t I am so thankful for these words. I have been going through some major changes in my life, ones that I have not wanted to happen. I have found myself struggling with wanting to turn back the clock to go back to another time. Facing the reality of changes that are out of my control has been extremely difficult. But your perspective in this post has helped me to see these changes differently. “Falling leaves being crushed underfoot is one of my favorite autumn memories because they signify growth and necessary change…”. This statement gives me hope and strength to believe that with these changes and the right perspective the Lord will help me through. God Bless you and thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and insight.
I appreciate your honesty in sharing where you are right now. May the autumn of your life lead to new beginnings.
Barbara Naturally Speaking says
Nylse I enjoy reading your descriptive and encouraging words in each of your posts! Keep writing, because your words are so uplifting!
Barbara Naturally Speaking
It meant so much to see you over here and to read your comment.
Thank you and blessings to you.
Hi, Nylse. 🙂 Love this!
i love how you compared leaves fallling in the autumn to leaves (people, things, attitudes) falling in our lives! change is necessary for growth! thank you!
Thank you for sharing your gift of words Nylse! It is so helpful that your title includes the words New Beginnings. I love fall but am always sad when so many leaves have fallen. But the visual of the falling leaves representing those things that need to be cut away from my heart is so helpful. God has been speaking to me about new beginnings and forward movement. But this also means continued pruning and facing some things that have caused me a lot of fear. So I want to stay focused on the new life on the other side of this process.
Blessings to you and I look forward to reading more of your writings.
Thank you for reading. Continue to listen to the voice of God in your life and let your fear be replaced with faith.
This is a great analogy and good word! I think you are well on your way to your next career.
I love the analogy, it is so true, we will eventually need to let go of many things that right now we can’t imagine life without. However, when we get to heaven it will all be good. Visiting from #rara link up. Pinning to a few good group boards. Many Thanks! 8)
Thanks for sharing. The analogy made so much sense to me I had to share, but also sometimes we think the pruning is awful but we can find beauty even in our broken situations. Crackle, crackle, crackle.