The cool morning wind yesterday seemed to carry the first hints of fall and the misty rain today makes me think that autumn has indeed settled over West Texas. I love autumn, but the changing of the seasons always makes me a bit melancholy; it stirs up within me an indescribable longing for something or someplace that I can’t quite describe. Perhaps it is a grief for the passing of summer, or perhaps as my friend Penny would say, it just makes me “sappy”.
Someone once told me that for a person as level-headed as I seemed, I could certainly swoop and soar – and sometimes plummet- over the simplest of things when it comes to nature. I guess it is true that the tiniest of flowers can make my spirit rise and lift my eyes to the heavens in awe at the wonder of creation, and by the same measure, a rainy day can fill me with a gentle sadness, as the earth seems wrapped in hushed reverence.
Words can often have the same effect on me, particularly the rhythmic flow of poetry. My earliest memories include listening to the gentle flow of words as my mother would attempt to read me to sleep before I was yet three. I have often said that I believe it is the very use of words that reflects the image of God in man, for John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” By his own definition, Christ was the word made flesh. Words are authoritative; God spoke and the world came into being. Words are powerful; they can elicit emotions, kindle convictions, and evoke loyalty and express abstract thoughts and feelings. They can attest to truth and are remembered even long after men are forgotten.
So when a misty West Texas rain bids me seek the shelter of the porch and yet beacons me linger there. I find comfort in a book of poetry, for a rainy day and poetry just go together.
But rain sets my soul to thinking
About the cycles of the earth
Of love and life, anger and strife
Man’s forgiving and rebirth
And these are all the subjects
Of which poets old and new speak
As they ponder all the inner thoughts
A man likes to hide so deep
So when the sky clouds up with gray
And soft rain begins to fall
My soul begs me to stop and heed
When the voice of poetry calls