There have been days in my life when a glorious mixture of Light and Love from a combination of earthly wonder and heavenly grace has shone upon me. The brightest of them all were the days in which I married my partner for life and I bore our three children. Each of those days is etched in my body, mind, and soul as a reflection of everything that is good and holy. Each of those days included mundane tasks, messy happenings, and marvelous emotions.
October is a reflection of those kinds of days—bright and beautiful, colorful and chaotic, yet peaceful and priceless! It seems like October days pass by too quickly, as the vibrant-colored leaves fall and dry to brown, and the warm days fade to cool nights. Maples of all species are the shining stars of autumn color in our yard…
and in the woods at St. John’s Arboretum, where a Sunday hike on the trail is like walking through a grand, gilded cathedral.
The stillness of the beautiful Lake Sagatagan reflected the autumn colors and housed a community of lily pads with only the stems remaining of their exquisite flowers.
The reflection in a pond along the trail seemed sharper and more realistic than the actual trees in the woods…
until the focus changed to the individual leaves floating on the stained glass water.
Our destination for our Sunday hike at Saint John’s was Stella Maris chapel which sits on an island-like peninsula across Lake ‘Sag’ from the campus. Stella Maris is Latin for ‘Star of the Sea’ and ‘Our Lady Star of the Sea’ is an ancient title for the Blessed Virgin Mary. The original chapel was built in 1872 but was struck by lightning and burnt down in 1903. It was rebuilt in 1915 and has had three renovations since that time.
The beautiful stained-glass star window and pregnant Mary statue simply adorn the inside of the chapel.
Moving on through October, another celestial body displayed its beauty—the full moon.
A hazy reflection of the Sun’s light illuminates the darkness.
And then a foggy morning diminished visibility and gave the changing leaves a muted glow. Such a changeable month this October!
A clear, crisp night frosted the blades of grass and tipped the outlines of fallen leaves with white.
The bright sunlight soon melted away the frost and shone on these robins who grabbed a bite of crabapples.
By the end of the month, the gloriously colored leaves are gone, and the silhouettes of the trees are lined against gray skies. We move into our late fall landscape.
October reflections of light, color, and brilliance are gone before we are ready for them to leave. Once again we are reminded that Nature’s time schedule doesn’t bend to our wishes and wants. But those days of illumination stay with us and quietly and stealthily renovate our hearts. We build our lives with the stones we have available to us, and sometimes the fires of life tear down those walls in order for us to rebuild something new and better, all while retaining what is good and holy. At any given moment, we believe we see the reflections of our lives clearly—but what happens when we change the focus? Hindsight has a way of honing in on what matters most and of illuminating the flaws of our thoughts and actions. And the best thing we can forgivingly say to ourselves is ‘Live and Learn.’ We move into a new landscape of life, our eyes see differently, and we receive new wonders from our earth and new graces from the heavens.