The Bounty of the Earth

What’s not to love about autumn?

It’s my favorite season. One morning you step outside and sense the air has changed. Summer’s gone; it feels like football season. Deciduous trees surrender their summer green in exchange for brilliant yellow, red, burgundy and gold before bowing to winter’s advance.

When I was living in Portland several decades ago, I tried to describe this in a poem. I’ll share it with you at the end of this blog.

David, the poet king, celebrated this change of season in Psalm 65:

You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.
(Psalm 65:9–13, ESV)

Rain showers soften the hard soil so seeds can erupt to greet the sun and grow deep roots, supporting tall plants laden with grain. Wagons heavily laden with grain create tracks in the dirt, leading to granaries filling up with harvest gold. The sweet smell of new-mown drifts in the wind. I really like David’s portrait of the meadows clothing themselves with flocks of sheep and goats and cattle. There will be meat in the locker this winter.

In those few lines David captures an entire agricultural season, from springtime plowing to harvest. We see the Creator’s hand throughout the entire poem, and I can picture it all in my mind’s eye.

After the harvest has been safely gathered, everybody shouts and sings with joy. Growing up on the farm, I remember that harvest was always the most joyful season of the year.

Soon we will celebrate our national Day of Thanksgiving, savoring the bounty of God’s abundantly fertile earth.

The leaves have pretty much vacated the trees around our home as I write these words, but wow, what a display! Every season has its unique beauties, but in my book autumn crowns them all.

Here is the poem that I wrote years ago, inspired by a huge maple tree in my neighbor’s yard.

Autumn’s on retreat
Outside my kitchen door.
Uniforms of red and gold
Are marching in defeat
Falling, falling on the ground
Outside my kitchen door.

First a scout, then a sentinel
Pass by in single file.
Then two, then three, then four
Then hordes and hordes and more
Ever marching in retreat
Falling, falling on the ground
Outside my kitchen door.

Soon they slow, now two
Then one, then none
Till the last battered old general
Surrenders to winter’s deadly charge
As he joins his troops
Falling, falling on the ground
Outside my kitchen door.