Leaves on the Tilt-A-Whirl

Falling Leaves - Bryana Johnson - N.D. Wilson - Having Decided To Stay


(The below is a quotation from N.D. Wilson’s rather stunning Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl, which I finished reading recently, enjoyed immensely, and highly recommend.)


These leaves aren’t fluttering; they aren’t spinning on sun-gold air.  They are dying swiftly in the night, their colors already hidden. 

I see Rome falling, collapsed by rain. I see Byzantium, with the pomp of great hats and the importance of emporors. I see China in confusion. I see Africa slipping to the North.

I see Nietzsche and Plato, Hume and Liebniz and Kant.  I see kings and prophets unable to stand.

I see myself, my people, my country, my leaves, my blood.

We are dying.  We must die.  The road is well traveled.  We need not fear the dark, for the way is lit with Christmas lights. 

We go into the ground, where the moss will feed on us and others will be stacked on top.  We go into church floors and graveyards behind grocery stores.  We go into the sea and the snow.  We are devoured–be each other, by the earth, by time, by cancers and confusion, by the spinning of this sphere as it runs its balanced laps.

We are in winter, where the light dies and blood runs cold.

But we are not forgotten.  Wet, ripped from the trees and trampled, we will not be lost, for we are His words, and when His voice calls, we will come.

Offstage, there is another greater stage.

Come, let us grow old like fishermen.  Let us sweeten the air with songs while we fade.  Let us die.  Winter cannot hold us.  Let us go into the ground, and our faces will find the sun.  Let us ride the eruption of Easter.

Our Maker waits. He would have a conversation.  What words will we have?

We need only one, the One who spoke us.

We will hear the angels sing.  We will be the sheep.  We will be made new and find ourselves standing in a garden.  We will be handed bodies and shovels and joy.

No tree will be prohibited.

Blister your hands.  Tend to the ants.  Push the shadows back.  Sing.  Make a garden of the world. 

We will laugh and carve FINIS on the earth.  We will carve it on the moon.  We will look to the Voice, to the Singer, the Painter, the Poet, the One born in a barn, the One with holes in His hands and oceans in His eyes, and on that day we will know–

The story has begun.

And we will rake the leaves. 

3 thoughts on “Leaves on the Tilt-A-Whirl

  1. That is one of my favorite books! Nate Wilson is one of the teachers at my college, along with his dad and brother-in-law. (His dad is also the pastor of the church I attend here in Idaho). Have you read any of his other books?

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