Red leaves in Autumn

At the service to welcome Autumn, led by Katie Brown, on 21 August, Mary McKenna shared these inspiring thoughts.

Each change of season brings new pleasure:

As the temperatures drop, it is wonderful to see the vibrant red and golds of autumn leaves. To hear the rustle of as we disturb their windswept piles and hear the deep beat of migrating swans.

Perhaps we appreciate the vibrant red of the autumn leaf, because we know that tomorrow it may be blown away or wither in the soil to re-emerge in another form in spring. When winter comes it will reveal the underlying architecture of the tree and remind us of the deep roots and branches that are needed to support their luxuries canopy. The wondrous beauty of nature may lie in its very transience.

Change and loss are inevitable facets of life. While we can be reassured that new life will emerge in Spring, confident in the cycle of the seasons, there are some changes of which we are more apprehensive. We may fear losing the familiar, worry about the future, especially if we are uncertain about the challenges ahead. Nevertheless, change we must.

At such times it can be helpful to remind ourselves of previous storms we have weathered, relationships which have sustained us through difficulties, enabling us to emerge and grow again. Our hope in the future can be enriched by our past, but not constrained by it, nourished by our caring relationships, and strengthened by fellow travellers we meet on the journey.

I, as well as many others, are aware of the challenges of living in a world, where the ability to understand and communicate through words has been decimated by dementia. Where ordinary experiences are become bewildering, rendering a loved one fragile and fragmented.

In these circumstances Love is not just a word, it is a profound connection, which bypasses our brain and reaches the very soul of our being. It touches our heart and can be rekindled by the smallest gesture, a smile, a cup of tea, a reassuring touch. Reminding us that love is more than a red leaf in autumn, it is the root our being and transcends all.