We used to teach this gentle little poem to our kindergartners:

“Come little leaves” said the wind one day,

“Come over the meadow with me and play;

Put on your dresses of red and gold,

For Summer is gone and the days grow cold”.

Soon as the leaves heard the wind’s loud call,

Down they came tumbling one and all.

Over the brown fields they danced and they flew,

Singing the soft little songs they knew.

It captured my imagination. I live where leaves don’t fall. Palms and pines don’t turn red and gold. But here, in the Smoky Mountains, I got to see what the poet George Cooper saw:

As I gazed at the Smoky Mountains from my cabin balcony, I thought butterflies were flitting between the trees. But it is too cold for butterflies. To my delight, I realized the leaves were dancing.

Leaves twirl and rise and swoop before they fall. They dance right down to their death. They go out in a blaze of red and gold glory. But they fall to the ground not to die, rather to decompose and return to the earth. Their essence is born again in the soil they nourish to bring forth new life.

Jesus said in Luke 19:40 – “I tell you, if they (my disciples) keep silent, the stones will cry out”. In all of creation, God reveals His plan: that salvation comes from death and resurrection. From the rocks, to the trees, to the falling leaves.

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