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A short story by Harriet S. Caswell

Thoughts On Autumn

Title:     Thoughts On Autumn
Author: Harriet S. Caswell [More Titles by Caswell]

Again has the season of Autumn arrived. The stated changes of the seasons serve as monitors to remind us of the flight of time; and upon such occasions the most unthinking can hardly avoid pausing to reflect upon the past, the present, and the probable future. Autumn has been properly styled the "Sabbath of the year." Its scenes are adapted to awaken sober and profitable reflection; and the voice with which it appeals to our reflective powers is deserving of regard. This season is suggestive of thoughts and feelings which are not called forth by any other; standing, as it were, a pause between life and death; holding in its lap the consummate fruits of the earth, which are culled by the hand of prudence and judgment, some to be garnered in the treasury of useful things, while others are allowed to return to their primitive elements. When spring comes smiling o'er the earth, she breathes on the icebound waters, and they flow anew. Frost and snow retreat before her advancing footsteps. The earth is clothed with verdure; and the trees put forth their leaves. Again, a few short months, and where has all this beauty fled? The trees stand firm as before; but, with every passing breeze, a portion of their once green leaves now fall to the ground. We behold the bright flowers, which beautify the earth, open their rich petals, shed their fragrance on the breeze, and then droop and perish. Sad emblem of the perishing nature of all things earthly. May we not behold in the fading vegetation, and the falling leaves of autumn, a true type of human life? Truly "we all do fade as a leaf." Life at the best is but a shadow that passes quickly away. Why then this love of gain, this thirst for fame and distinction? Let us approach yonder church-yard and there seek for distinction. There we may behold marble tablets cold as the clay which rests beneath them: their varied inscriptions of youth, beauty, age, ambition, pride and vanity, are all here brought to one common level, like the leaves which in autumn fall to the earth, not one pre-eminent over another. The inspired writers exhibit the frailty of man by comparing him to the grass and the flowers withering and dying under the progress and vicissitudes of the year; and with the return of autumn we may behold in the external appearance of nature the changes to which the sacred penman refers, when he says, "So is man. His days are as grass; as a flower of the field so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more." Autumn too, is the season of storms. Let this remind us of the storms of life. Scattered around us, are the wrecks of the tempests which have beaten upon others, and we cannot expect always ourselves to be exempt. Autumn is also the season of preparation for winter. Let us remember that the winter of death is at hand, and let us be impressed with the importance of making preparation for its approach. Let us then, as we look upon the changed face of nature, take home the lesson which it teaches; and, while we consider the perishable nature of all things pertaining to this life, may we learn to prepare for another and a happier state of being.

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Harriet S. Caswell's short story: Thoughts On Autumn