November already. The changes of the season have really begun to be noticed. Air colder, days shorter, and a growing desire for log fires, thick stews, and warm slippers.
Dartmoor is one of the last truly wild parts of England. Here is a photo that contrasts the cold granite slabs with the sunlit bare trees. These fields are used for grazing, but soon they will be frozen: abandoned, and scoured by icy winds.
Apart from the gorse bushes, all the leaves have gone. Their fragile short life cycle offers great beauty for a while: then the trees must stand tall and naked in the harsh winter.
Change affects them regularly. The granite, on the other hand, endures apparently unchanged for countless years. It too has been changed: the timescale is different, but the pressure of sun, ice, rain, and wind sculpts these great monoliths into fantastic shapes- like Bowerman’s Nose.
The contrast between stone and leaf makes us aware of the different ways Time is experienced, and the variation in the rate of change.
Delve deep enough into geological time and the granite was molten magma being forced up through the softer layers of rock, being constantly changed until, cooling down, it set so solid it outlasts the landscape.
So too our lives. Much of life moves in rapid cycles and seasons, like the trees. At the centre is the core of belief and trust that leans on the rock and undergirds everything that happens in our lifetime. Soft leaves and impenetrable stone illustrate aspects of living: the swift changes and the (nearly) eternal.
“God has set eternity in our hearts.” (Ecclesiastes 3 v11)
We possess an innate knowledge that must be something more to life than what we can see and experience in the here and now. It is November. The seasons are changing. Our experience of life and God are changing. Remember, stone and leaf- and God is in both.