Sunday, September 27, 2009

Feelings of fall

So they say, "A picture's worth a thousand words" - but after looking at these pictures I don't know if that's really true. We went on a drive today to enjoy the fall leaves, and there is only one word to describe it - magical. And yet I look at these pictures and they don't even begin to capture the beauty we experienced. It makes me sad that I couldn't have packed all of you up and taken you with me so you could feel the breathtaking beauty we enjoyed.....

Anyway, yesterday afternoon Cory took the boys with him and our friends Jesse, Hayley and Mikell up into the mountains to see the fall leaves and have an outing. (Some of the pictures are from when he went up yesterday, and some of them are from today. Thanks sweetie for taking some great pictures yesterday!) He came back and told me he just had to take me up because it was so beautiful. So after church we packed up and headed up to enjoy the beauty. We debated back and forth about if we would take our truck, or ride in the ranger. Since it was Sunday we didn't plan to take the ranger at first, but when we decided that we'd be taking the same road/trail whether we had the truck or the ranger - we decided to go with the ranger. We made sure that it was a ranger "drive" instead of a ranger "ride" (a "ride" involves more horsing around, more 4 wheeling and off roading - a "drive" is more like what you would alraedy do in your car - in case you needed a description) - now I feel like I'm justifying our choice of vehicle......

We headed not very far from our house - really close - and as soon as we were in the mountains I could hardly stand the beauty. We kept saying - "Wow!" and "Oh my goodness!" and even the boys would let out a "woah" from time to time. Cory and I both agreed that this was the prettiest drive we had been on in this area. But as I thought about it I really felt like this was the prettiest I had seen fall leaves - ever.

I remembered one other time I felt overwhelmed with the beauty of the fall leaves - a Sunday in September back in 2001. On this particular Sunday I remember feeling overcome with the beauty of the mountains in Provo. It had been a hard week, a really hard week for all of the world really. September 11th had just happened, we were reeling and unsure of so many things. I remember sitting on the lawn of the Provo temple and gazing up to Rock Canyon. I remember feeling like those reds, oranges and firey hues were a message; a message that even through all of the horrible things that were happening - that Heavenly Father loved us. I felt his love, I knew he cared. I didn't understand why those things had happened - still don't completely - but I did know it would be ok, and that the Lord loved us. Looking at those leaves I didn't *think* he loved me - I *KNEW* he did!

Shift back to today - I looked at those leaves and it hit me. I hadn't seen or even felt of the beauty quite like that September in 2001 again - until today. I thought about this past year - this really tough past year - and realized that maybe this extravagant array of colors was meant to hit me that way and be set apart from the fall colors in most years. Maybe the colors of the fall leaves hadn't been that pretty in the years since September 11th, and maybe the beauty this year was extra beautiful. I think I needed that little bit of renewal, or reminder of our Heavenly Father's love.

So this is what I learned in those moments - when we have been through our hardest struggles we are not alone. After we have passed through difficult times there will always be brighter times - always. It might not be immediate, but we will turn the corner and get through it. There will always be golden yellows, fire like reds, and vibrant hues or orange to brighten our world. We might not see the beauty in the middle of the tests and trials - but if we will wait - it will come.

I also had many thoughts about seasons of our lives, and how we are all in different seasons of our lives, we're all at different stages and going through different experiences. I looked at trees that would be right in the same area, and they somehow seemed to be all different. There would be a tree with bright green leaves right next to a golden one, and the one behind it would have oranges and beautiful red shades. Even though those trees all had the same environment, and probably the same experiences - they were all reacting and experiencing it differently. That is how life is too - isn't it? There are people going through the same thing as we are, and are handling it better (or maybe even worse) - but we are all different. I don't know what was in the air - but I seemed to look around and find life lessons all over the place today :)

I felt so much love while we were driving through those beautiful mountains. I felt love from my boys as they snuggled up beside me. I felt love for my husband who took me out to see the leaves even though he had already been out to see them yesterday - because he knew how much they'd make me happy. Most of all though - I felt love from Heavenly Father. He might not have been there to tell me, but when I saw the masterpiece he had painted for us in the mountains it was if I had a whisper in my ear to tell me of His love. I could feel it all around me - surrounding me and my wonderful family.

So if you are blessed to live in an area filled with the beauty of fall be sure you take a few minutes to feel those whisperings. Look for a moment at the masterpiece that is found in the changing of seasons. If you don't live in an area filled with fall leaves, look around yourselves anyway - I know that Heavenly Father finds ways to remind us of his love, and I know He loves all of us.


The Rhiens said...

I enjoyed reading your thoughts about fall. Autumn always brings me a sense of fulness and richness and I seem to be blessed with an extra sense of my blessings and a real feel of gratitude. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures!

Love, Mom and Dda

Rhien Family said...

Wow- These pictures are incredible. I'm sad that we don't get fall or winter here in Dallas. At least not the traditional fall and winter I'm used to. We do have pleasant temperatures for fall, and semi-cold temperatures for the winter.... but I miss the crisp cool air, the crunchy leaves, the colors, and hot apple cider with glazed donuts.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

Mrs. Ellis said...

Beautiful photos, words, and boys! So good to see some photos and stories. I've missed reading your thoughts. It's fall weather here, but the leaves haven't changed yet. I hear it is INCREDIBLE though. And since we live in the park and are surrounded by trees... I can't wait. I also can't wait to see you guys at Christmas!