A Pepper Grinder Post

The Fall

treesHave I mentioned that we live in a place with a lot of trees?  I have seen many developments where the houses appear to have simply sprung out of a field.  There are no plants bigger than the ornamental shrubs and trees that the homeowners have planted.  That look does absolutely nothing for me. 

I grew up with lots of trees and lots of hills.  My wife and I now live in a very flat place, so I have had to learn to do without the hills, but the trees make it bearable.  I am very grateful that the people who built our development left LOTS of big trees in place.  It makes me feel as though our house is nestled in a great cathedral.

leaf pileThere are some downsides of course.  We have to scour the gardening websites looking for plants that at least tolerate, but preferably love shade.  We also have to deal with the leaves each fall.  This past week, my 3 youngest daughters spent several hours on several days raking leaves.  There is now a huge mountain of leaves amidst the trees behind our house that is the accumulation of 5 years of leaves.  I couldn’t seem to get a picture that really captures the enormity of this pile but I just measured it and it is over 4 feet high at the highest point, about 15 feet wide at the widest point, and around 30 feet long.  As Dave Barry would say, “I am NOT making this up.”

I also have to go up on the roof of our house to sweep the leaves down from there.  We live in a ranch house, which means that it has a large roof (as every roofer we talked to hastened to tell us, no doubt to prepare us for the jaw-dropping price they were about to quote us for getting our shingles replaced!).  It is also an “interesting roof,” which means that it has several troughs where two different parts of the roof meet at right angles.  I do think it looks more interesting than just a straight roof, but let me tell you, those troughs make a great place for leaves to congregate.  (The sad truth is that the picture below is how one of those troughs looked just TWO days after I had swept it clean.) 

leaves on roofAs the leaves sit in those troughs, they actually start to decompose into something resembling dirt.  I did not get up on the roof and clear off the leaves the first fall we were here, and I suspect that it hadn’t been done the previous fall when the house was vacant.  By the time I did go up and clear off the leaves, I found that a tree seedling had sprouted in one of those troughs.  It was only a few inches high, but it had sunk its roots so far into the shingles, that the roots just broke off when I pulled it out.

I can’t help wondering what the trees were like in the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve rebelled against God.  Did the leaves ever dry up and fall off, or did they just go on living and thriving?  I tend to think that since the fall of man is what brought death into the world (see Romans 5:12), even the leaves on the trees would not have died.  I freely admit that this is pure speculation.

Whatever the case, there is no doubt in my mind that we live in a fallen world.  Death and sin is all around us.  Even those of us whom God has redeemed, are still carrying around a dying carcass and a sin-scarred mind.  Every day we have to go out into the world and make our feeble effort to clean up the physical, mental, and emotional mess created by death and sin—some of it our own.  No matter how many times we sweep the leaves off our roof or apologize to our wives, we will have to do it again because we are living amidst the fall.

The message of Christ is not that we should stop cleaning the leaves, or should pretend that they aren’t there.  His message is that he has died to reverse the fall.  We may still see lots of dead leaves, but the true spring is coming.  Alleluia.