Autumn Essence – Look, See, Pray

Artist’s Impression- Rhus leaves changing colour

What is the essence of Autumn?

Keats wrote his famous Ode to Autumn – “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” – which has been happily stuck in my brain since my “O” levels. It’s a pretty good stab at defining autumn through poetry.

Mist? First frosts? Gales? Leaves?

For a photographer, the rich colours of autumnal foliage appeal strongly. So here is a photo of “Rhus” leaves turning from green to scarlet, orange, yellow and brown. But I wanted to make people look twice; so I used an artistic editing filter to stylise the shapes and lines into poster art.

This, I think, reveals AND conceals! Details are re-ordered for graphic strength, colours are simplified.

Instead of a straightforward “record shot” of leaves, it becomes a dynamic symbol of what autumn is all about- its essence in place of two-dimensional copy. The very act of picture-taking changes the way the subject presents to the viewer: the camera reduces three-dimensional reality into a flat plane. (This is why sometimes we’re disappointed by our landscape snaps- those glorious immense awesome and overpowering mountain look, well, flat. Boring, even. Unless the light and composition bring the essence of the scene to LIFE.

God uses the natural world (especially its beauty) to awaken our souls. But on its own Nature, however lovely and fascinating, is an incomplete revelation of who God is. That’s why God planned the Incarnation of Jesus- “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” (Colossians 2 v9)

The essence of God, the fullness of God, the COMPLETE and comprehensible embodiment of Holy Living God-ness… so we can KNOW as we are known.

All too soon the shops will be filled with tempting stuff for our Christmas shopping. Rather than get irritated by such intrusive marketing, I’m going to thank them this year- for giving me a reminder that the GREATEST gift in history arrived in Bethlehem. Love made flesh. Love’s “poster boy.” The essence of God shown in a Baby who makes history look twice.

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