Innumerable Thanksgiving Blessings
Autumn always begins unnoticed, like a spark.
Tinges of color barely noticed.
Then forests suddenly burst into a blaze of fiery yellows, reds, and oranges.
Then, as the flames die out, the leafy ashes fall to the ground.
The mighty oaks around us are no exception, though the fire burns more slowly.
The dark green leaves that shade us all summer begin to yellow a bit.
Then they burn with a rusty orange before crisping to their fall brown.
However, unlike backyard chestnut, which surrenders its canopy with little fight,
The oaks hold on stubbornly to their leaves.
But the shortening days, northern cold, and shifting winds finally have their way.
At first, a few leaves swirling around heavy stems land softly on the ground.
Then they fall in waves, covering the yard in a blanket that crunches underfoot.
Scientists say each oak has a million leaves or more, and I believe them.
Over the weeks, I find deep satisfaction in the ritual of clearing the yard.
Donning the backpack blower, the oak leaves are gathered into massive piles.
Sometimes, grandchildren laugh with joy as they hide and build forts in them.
Then they are blown or tarped or raked into the woods behind our home.
And the thick carpet slowly turns into rich earth for the trees there.
The oaks are bare now on this bright Thanksgiving Day.
I stand beneath them and see blue skies through their branches.
And the psalms remind me of a message in the leaves.
How from heaven above He sends down innumerable blessings.
Protection like shade on my right hand (Ps. 121:5).
Beauty to meditate on in His holy temple (Ps. 27:4).
Work that satisfies and provides (Ps. 104:23-24).
Joy in Christ more bountiful in heart than fall harvest (Ps. 4:7).
Nourishment of soul that satisfies more than the feast on this day (Ps. 63:5).
Indeed, let the trees of the forest sing for joy (Ps. 96:12)!