Genesis 8:22 – As long as the world exists, there will be a time for planting and a time for harvest. There will always be cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”

Gratitude Day 782

Here in south central Wisconsin, the outdoors is a beautiful color palette of orange, red, yellow and everything fall colors right now.

The leaves are turning and we are the recipients of a wonderful color show. With the first really hard frost last night, the colors should be even more spectacular in the next couple of days.

It’s simply a gorgeous time of the year.

It happens every fall, but do you know why the leaves change color every autumn?

One word: photosynthesis.

In winter, there is not enough water or light for the trees to produce food, i.e., leaves, and so they take a rest. With less light and sun to continue to produce the green color we see throughout the spring and summer, the yellow and orange that have been there all along now are the dominant colors. It’s just that the colors we think of as “fall” colors have been covered up by the green. Basically, the green takes a long vacation, disappears and then we get to see the bright and beautiful colors which only emerge when productivity shuts down.

Yep, that’s right. We see the oranges and the reds and the yellows when productivity stops, shuts down and the green goes away.

Shuts down. Productivity stops. Colors emerge. Green goes on hiatus.

And the color comes out. Beauty emerges. Our world becomes brighter when photosynthesis stops producing green color.

The green has to be stripped away.

How very, very interesting.

Society wants us to produce, produce, produce. More, more, more. Achieve, achieve, achieve.

We are so aware of making sure that others think we are so busy and productive, we forget to stop and see if this is what God wants for us.

Yesterday, I had multiple conversations with people I see very seldom. Only once a year. Sometimes it has been more years than I care to admit. Nearly every conversation asked if I was busy and had too much going on in my life. Clearly, we base our sense of significance and worth in these things. It’s all about production, we are taught.

But maybe it isn’t. Maybe our identity is much less tied into what we do and a whole much more about who we are to God. While we think we have to “earn” God’s love and admiration, God already loves us just the way we are. And God would much rather that we wrap ourselves in God’s love for us than anything else. Another sale, a long to-do list that has everything crossed off, an achievement finally completed – these are all good. But not if we forget God’s deep, unconditional and extravagant love for us in the meantime.

Our beautiful “colors” are all there, right underneath all of our production. All of our doing. Sometimes, we just need to let the doing stop so they can emerge. Productivity must slow down so the beauty has an opportunity to surface. Be present. Live.

It’s fall. These color-infused days will not last forever. Enjoy them. Walk through the leaves and let the crunch fill your ears. Hold a warm mug of hot apple cider and breathe in every smell. Go to the apple orchard and taste every new apple there is. Search for just the right pumpkin on a wagon at the pumpkin patch.

Call that friend you never take the time to talk with. Make a long-overdue coffee date with the person who has been on your mind for weeks. Pack a picnic and your favorite person in the car and drive through every country road and ooh and ahh over the colors. Let this productivity surround your weekend, your week, your fall.

And know that God has already declared “that it is good.” It is very good indeed.

For the lesson of photosynthesis and the need for less productivity, I am very grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – Why do we spend so much of our lives focusing on what we do and do and do? Why do we assume that our value and worth comes out of our production rather than living in your deep and unconditional love that you have for us? May this little fall lesson of photosynthesis encourage us to remember that there is beauty in our lives. Sometimes, we just keep it hidden beneath all of our doing. Amen.

P.S. – Some of these photos are not mine but those of others who take my breath away.

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