Leaves spin and twirl, pecan nuts plummet, squirrels race and the shadows on the fence do too. I watch as if it's an old black and white animated film.
A leaf strokes the pool water, and swims. The water ripples slightly, and I choose to watch it ripple across the rough surface of the fence in shadow form. If shadows made noise, this would sound like a stringed instrument. Water shadows ripple over fence boards as strings might vibrate over the sound board of the guitar my daughter plays.
Harmonious shadows play rippling strings as if plucked for song.
And why not? All is spinning, twirling, leaping, chattering, feasting, praising.
Morning sun projects the activity onto the fence where it's played out in shadows.
I had hoped for this in August heat. And now it's here, autumn song. It's here, clear and colorful. It fits both praise and fire.
Trees flame bright as fire yellow, orange, and red.
Leaves fly off like sparks.
Pecans hit the ground, pop-pop-popping in autumn flame. I see it in the fire that tries it.
And what about soul fire?
I felt it earlier on the staircase when morning sun shot flames through the upstairs window and ran down the stairs and skidded gold across the wood floor. Sparks splayed there, and I stood in them bravely. I felt them glance off the glass of framed photos on the wall.
The photos are wedding day photos.
My oldest son stands tall and suited and with a smile unlike any other I’ve ever seen him wear.
There’s a photo of his bride, too, in the bridal dressing room just before the ceremony.
There's also a photo of his brother and himself. The two grin into the camera, arms slung over each others’ shoulders.
I look into their faces.
One is smiling like a young man, moments from becoming a married man; the other is smiling like a young man, waiting to propose to his girl.
She’s in a photo on this wall, too. The image captures delight in her eyes because she caught the bridal bouquet tightly in her hands. When she caught the bouquet, maybe she got to feel what it's like to catch faith. To catch, and hold tight, to her own marriage hopes as she grins at my son. I know there's a ring; but she doesn't.
I squint against the sparkling glass frames. Today I do feel singe. I won’t say I don’t. God knows the depths of my heart right now and hears my thoughts-
When a groom buys a wedding ring for his bride, she rejoices in the hope of seeing it when he slips it on her finger. She anticipates the ring, the wedding, the marriage, the new life. Her hope is active and rejoicing as she prepares for the glory of new life. When trials come as she waits in hope, she glories in them and rejoices proudly because he has poured out into her heart his love for her. She rejoices proudly because he is her hope.
“Thank You, Lord. Yes. Amen.” I know Him well enough to recognize in my thoughts things He Himself has said.
His words are ointment, and here in autumn flame and staircase sparks, my “If this is how You treat Your friends, it is no wonder You have so few” moan is gone. St. Theresa of Avila said it. Saints do moan sometimes. But today I do not.
Today I think, You must love me a lot to keep me in the flame so long.
I recognize God in the thought, but I don’t recognize myself in it. It's because He's changing the way I think.
I’m being changed somehow in this fire.
Silversmith over autumn fire means to see His image in me.
I hope for it. I burn for it. I endure for it.
It’s hope, plain and simple and splotchy, too, except for the shadow strings strumming harmoniously across the wood fence.
And across my soul’s walls.
There are so many hope shadows moving across my soul’s walls. “Show me faith, and, Jesus, help me get this straight!”
He does. “Look around you.”
I do. I approach the fence slats and touch the shadows there; and they break over the uneven surface of my knuckles. I lean my back against the fence and shadows play across my front. Face the right way and see hints of hope.
I watch a squirrel stuff its cheeks with pecan and pumpkin seeds and feast on autumn as sun's watery rays cast long shadows toward the season coming. A season of sharing food, warmth, den and isn't that something to look forward to? I find myself hoping for this on the scale of heaven.
Do I now nourish my soul with what I will feast on in heaven?
The things I do, desire, think about, talk about, have an appetite for-do they take on a different form while retaining the same Spirit when the Light of the World shines on them?
Are they more than illuminated when the Light shines on them?
Does the Light add another dimension to these things?
Are they cross-sectioned by the Light?
Light does this. It cross-sections, and the cross-section of a shadow casts the object into another dimension.
Seems to me a two-dimensional silhouette on this side of eternity hints at a shadow of things to come on the other side where the only light will be God Himself.
Maybe it's as impossible to lean on hope as it is to lean on a shadow-yet lean on the evidence which is and watch how the Light of the World adumbrates what is to come while shining on what is.
Crazy heights, nutty hunger, autumn glory-I praise the Light Himself, here.
Faith is my entrance.
written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig
(adapted from my book, PISTEUO! Connecting with God's Heart)