Friday, September 17

The Longing of Autumn


C. S. Lewis writes a bit about the longing for heaven that we sometimes get when we listen to good music, or see great pieces of art. It's that brief glimpse of something more, something wonderfully beyond, that we can touch ever so lightly and fleetingly, but cannot grasp. Something that makes us long for the thrilling perfection that we cannot have. Not yet.

(If I knew where Lewis writes this, I'd quote some of it for you. I know it's there, but I can't find it. If you know where I can find it, please, tell me.)

I've never gotten the feeling while viewing art pieces. It's not that I don't like visual art, just that it hasn't ever given me that feeling. Music has: briefly and rarely, when the mood is right and there are no distractions, and the recording is perfect. A particular recording of Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring has done it for me at least twice.

There's a place on the Alaska highway, 700 miles south and east from here, where the road overlooks a vast valley of green untouched wilderness that spans from horizon to horizon. Near the center of the valley is a blue river that runs--in the twisty, turny way that all mountain rivers do--from horizon to horizon, too. Looking down from the edge of the highway into that valley almost always carries me somewhere else for a few seconds, and I want to live there, be there, exist there. Always.

That's the place. The season that makes me long for heaven is autumn. So lovely. So fresh. So full of energy and life, and abundance of harvest, and new beginnings.

And impossible to hold. Every moment to be savoured, for before it's really here, it's already ending.

I long for the joy of eternal autumn. Invigorating mornings, and cold nights, with tantalizing warmth of sunlight in between. Bright red maples that never lose their leaves, but still have a crisp cushion of fallen ones beneath them. Forever harvesting abundant perfect vegetables from the gardens that were never planted.

Have you ever had that longing for heaven? What brings it to you?
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