I took a quick mid-day break from work today to go on a hike in the foothills on this last day of summer, anticipating the inevitable movement toward fall.
There were still a few wildflowers blooming; but there were more dead flowers – wilted and gone to seed – than blooming flowers. Such is this moment, between summer and fall. Summer, the season of fullness, flourishing, and flowers – dying into fall, the season of decay.
Yet this season of dropping to the ground is essential in the cycle of nature. The dying flowers drop seeds that are eventually covered with fall leaves, then the snow of winter which moistens the soil. Finally, the seeds come to life again in the spring, bringing forth the next generation of flowers.
So today as I hiked and enjoyed the warmth of the late-summer sun on my body, I studied the dying flowers. The withering petals and dried seed pods seemed less ugly and more purposeful in my eye. I am grateful for this season, the end of one form and the beginning of another.
I also pondered what needs to die in my own life – what once-flourishing blossom is past fullness and needs to die, drop to the ground, and be reborn in another season? I didn’t find the answer to that question during my two-hour break, but it’s a question I want to hold in front of me as I walk from summer to fall.
For sure, I tell you, unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, it will only be a seed. If it dies, it will give much grain. (John 12:24, NLV)