I parked my car across the street. Getting out, I looked at our yard and saw the full autumn palette of golds and oranges and reds diffused among the trees.
But there was one that, at the very moment of my gaze, reached the peak of glory. Its leaves were blazing like a fire and on this cool, blustery day, it seemed as if you could almost warm yourself in its shade.
It was the burning bush of Moses, raised to a towering height, and I fully expected the voice of God to come from its crown.
I, too, probably should have removed my shoes, respecting the sacred ground from which this splendor flowed. Instead, I snapped a picture to remember it and went in the house.
That afternoon we had a couple of our granddaughters. They’re a high-energy pair, and everyone is happier when they are fully occupied.
Usually, we would go to the park, but the windy chill was a little much for the papery princess dress and waffled sandals that are Elizabeth’s obligatory attire these days.
So, we took them to a children’s indoor play area at the mall. There they would have the space to climb and crawl to their hearts’ content.
As we were watching the girls, another child came up to us and just stood there, staring. She was maybe 3, in a peasant tunic dress and jeans. Her almond eyes were fixed on us, her tongue hanging out of her mouth.
He father quickly came over, apologized, and gently invited his daughter to play — not a “don’t do that” but a “let’s do this.”
As she left, she tuned to wave and mumbled something that must a have been “bye.”
She wandered over again, but each time Dad would coax her back to play. At times he would hold her hand, and at others, retreat a step and urge her to jump or slide.
He always spoke softly, with a tender smile.
Every person with Down syndrome is unique, and I have no idea of the challenge facing this one, but her father will make sure she knows that she is precious, wanted and loved.
On this Saturday, I found that beauty is all around us, deserving our attention.
And that it is a rare day without at least one moment of mystery and revelation.
And, while the brilliance of autumn leaves can be explained without God, and suffering occurs without sin, God is present in both.