It seemed too pretty to be real. That was my thought as I stood in Letchworth State Park and looked out over the Genesee River gorge. It was fall and the colors of the leaves were so spectacular that they almost took my breath away. Growing up on the Gulf Coast, I had never seen anything like it.

Letchworth State Park, located in western New York State, is often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” It is one of the most magnificent areas in the eastern U.S. The Genesee River roars through the gorge over three major waterfalls between cliffs–as high as 600 feet in some places–surrounded by lush forests. And on that September afternoon over 45 years ago its beauty left this Alabama boy speechless (I know that is hard to believe).

Every year the colors of fall in north Georgia remind me of that spectacular view in western New York. The forests of our area and my neighborhood provide God with a wonderful palette that is made possible by the diversity of types of trees. Many of our trees remain green all year but if all the trees were evergreen, we would miss out on the colorful splendor that is enjoyed this time of the year.

In addition to the variety of trees in my back yard I also enjoy the variety of birds that visit the feeders we have placed there. The cardinals, finches, sparrows, and doves, are joined by an occasional hummingbird. They are different sizes, colors, and they sing different songs but they all provide beauty to our lives.

You can often see chipmunks scurrying across our back yard and there are plenty of industrious squirrels that somehow find a way to eat the bird’s food. Rabbits and deer are not uncommon in our neighborhood and we enjoy them- except when they eat my wife’s flowers. Just a few days ago we saw a beautiful red fox nearby. Last winter there was even a wild turkey that ambled through our neighborhood. These and more exotic animals (that are not found in my neighborhood) like my grandson’s favorite, the cheetah, the giraffe, the hippopotamus, elephant, and many others are examples of God’s creativity.

The residents of my neighborhood also provide an insight into God’s creativity. Although the architecture of the eighty-five homes in our subdivision is somewhat similar, the people represent a broad variety. There is wide range of ages from twenty-somethings to seniors who have been retired for many years (and at least one that will retire soon). There are families with small children and teenagers, single adults, couples with no children, and empty nesters. Our neighbors come from all over the nation and world. Our native languages are several. The pigment of our skin varies. It is a wonderful place to live.

I am listening to a collection of Jazz classics as I write but I enjoy a wide variety of musical genres. My culinary tastes also are diverse. One of my fantasies is to work my way down Buford Highway in Atlanta and eat at a different restaurant for every meal. I currently drive a Korean made automobile and my wife drives a vehicle made in Japan. In the past we have driven a variety of American and foreign made cars.

God has created a wonderfully diverse world and has given human beings extraordinary creative ability. We are different and we like different things. I am grateful for the variety I find in the everyday. Life would be extremely boring without it, wouldn’t it?

Jamie Jenkins