For weeks, breezes tossed about a smear of cherry-red limbs like red-vested monkeys with their handlers—The show was ongoing, day or evening. Neighbors gaped as they passed by with their dogs: It was the red maple tree atop the hill, outside my study window.

Autumn’s unusual dryness, though, caused the leaves to blanch and drop to the ground and shrivel, as if in slow motion—even powdering when scooped up. What had been stunning appeared vapid, washed out, vacant. All that remained were strapping branches, the hosts of this stunning display, still to undergo their final denuding.

Such diminishment bruises the psyche. Longing for what was escalates the absence of vibrant life with its full panoply of color. In its place, seasonal browns, grays, and blacks begin to shroud the outdoors. With the onset of winter’s bite nearing, more challenges emerge: chapped hands, cold feet, nipped cheeks, masks and layers of clothing, ice/snow storms, and so much more.

Such seasonal change twinges our grief, our humanness, our resiliency. Yet, color does return, on all levels…This remains our hope.