Autumn Thoughts

Crisp autumn days with crackling leaves that crunch beneath our feet,
A sky like clear blue glass, or rain that rushes in a sheet;
The splendid smells of asters, nuts, and burning leaves --
Who would have thought that death could smell so sweet?

The stillest days of all the year stand idly by,
Departing us so early that they say good-bye,
Before we half are ready for the evening dusk
To usher us to bed. And so we try

To cheat the season's nightly chill with fires bright,
That crackle like the leaves, and bring a cheer delight.
We sip our steaming cups of tea and warm our toes,
Smiling to think we thwart the hoar frost's bite.

And yet, the shortening days remind us of our shortening lives,
Giving us pause to remember - only that survives
The judgment fire, which is done for Christ;
The crown of life is to him who ever strives.

Mary E. Stephens

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

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Photos and graphics by Mary Stephens
Painting: The Church at Old Lyme by Childe Hassam.
CA; updated 2019