I walk with the shears through the stooped stalks and cut the spent ones down. I am ruthless because I want as many as I can bundle.
I take the leftover pods and tie them up with the broken branches the wind blew down in one of the many rainstorms this summer. These dead things, these dried stalks are my autumn bouquet.
Next to the silk flowers, I think they are beautiful.
There is a pungent perfume, it is dark and broody. There is nothing light and sweet in this bundled up sheath on the graying wood.
It is old-ness.
There is an ancient beauty in the brittleness of the Russian sage, in the spiked spent pod of the purple coneflower. Even the bearded lily’s dried stalk is lived out- regal in its hard burgundy coat.
It is their old-ness that tells a story of a bygone splendor.
It is their brokenness that reveals a life well lived in the season it was meant to live.
The black-eyed Susan and the pink rugosa lean toward the waning sun these days. Old wood and rusted bedsteads frame the blooming.
It feels like autumn in my soul these days and I have to go looking every day for some sense of beauty that is still there.
Beauty that tangles itself around the weathered places.
Beauty that clings to the rusted parts of me.
I do not fret about the flowers blooming now in the middle of the brittle, bent and broken because I know it’s supposed to be this way, so why do I fret about the ache in my morning feet or the desire for sleep in the middle of the day?
Why do I fret that I cannot seem to get my carpets cleaned going on three years, or that I failed to keep my promise to read more classics this year.
Why do I fret that I have not written anything for a month?
I have known Jesus to give beauty for ashes. He just made the trade right there on that cross…took my charred wisp of a life and traded it for Him, my own Pearl Of Great Price.
But what I have not known as surely is that Jesus gives beauty IN ashes, too.
It may feel like autumn in my soul, but, there is still nectar to be had amidst the browning leaf; inside the weathered life.