There is no gift more beautiful to me than the unfolding of an autumn day as the sun breaks on frosted fields and warms away the chill of early morning. This morning I awoke humming, “Count Your Blessings”, an old hymn that has been ringing in my heart lately. There was a chill in the air and white frost covered the ground and served as a warning that winter may arrive early or at least as a cue that colder days are on the way. Later as I looked out at a golden sunrise I saw that familiar V formation flying high overhead as flocks head south to warmer lands and like the frost they reminded me that autumn days will eventually pass.

As I watched the flock flying south, I was also reminded how often I would like to ‘fly south’ when circumstances appear to be getting a little colder than that with which I am comfortable. I think how often I give thanks and sing joyful praise on glorious October days, but dread the oncoming cold of December and wish that I too could fly away from all trouble and any hint of cold or discomfort. However, as the old hymn relates, counting blessings and giving thanks should not be reserved only for glorious autumn days.

When I think of winter, it is the quiet stillness which I recall most vividly. There is a gentle, quiet, peace that can only be heard when all is cold and dark. Winter is not without its beauty and there is an abundance of splendor for which we can be thankful despite the cold and discomfort. And as with each season, there is warmth in the stored memories of glorious autumn days, blissful summer mornings, the cheerful chorus of spring long past, and the knowledge that all of these days – though they themselves will never return- will be replicated as long as the world continues to turn and seasons continue to change. Some would say there is a cycle to life that we all must endure, but I think it would be far better to say that there is a cycle to life and we should embrace it and each season as it comes giving thanks for the joys that are found in each one despite uncomfortable temperatures, whipping winds, or dark clouds.

As my thoughts return to the recent memory of geese flying high overhead leaving before all grain is gone, food is scarce, and colder days come, I am thankful that I don’t have wings to fly and that I am granted the grace to stay and embrace what remains of autumn; I am thankful that I can enjoy the day and trust that whatever changes another season may bring it will also contain both beauty and blessings.