Tender Days of Autumn Rising
Updated: Feb 3, 2022
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we swirled into Autumn yesterday at 12:21pm. I have felt the nostalgic tendrils of Autumn beckoning for weeks now, but the Full Harvest Moon (on Monday), lit the Equinox fire with quite the spectacular show.
There is no season like Autumn, to stir up in me, from the depths of ancient memories, a feeling so distinct, so joyful and so tragic, so rich and tactile, so immense and paradoxical. Laughter bubbles up and over, cascading down the gentle slope of fruit trees, as the breeze flows through the orchard, pears thumping to the ground with every rustle...clouds billowing up and over the horizon, lit up in hues of gleaming majestic white, by a sun shining so starkly bright, it almost hurts...both the laughter and the light. It feels like home. And when the giggles run dry, and the rain rolls in, and mistakes are made, and the night comes too soon, and a sharp bump on the head brings the tears, tears now flowing stronger than the pain... flowing like a river from some long forgotten place...then sadness too makes home here.
By candlelight we pray, and the dreams take hold, and the waking world is hard to return to, when the sun stays hidden for longer and the blankets feel that much warmer and swirling thoughts make haste to disturb the peace of sleep, and with a sigh, I rise. And still, the magenta sunrise, breathing through the grey-blue clouds, gently dissolving the pre-dawn mist that has settled dreamily over the fields, and setting the flower garden aglow...gives life once more to the wonder, to the wordless awe, ever-growing in my tender heart, which just might burst at the beauty.
Autumn is a deep chalice, and a thinning veil. The abundance of these days is overwhelming, and the gratitude equally matched by a low-grade anxious hum, a slow and steady buzz, to know that the harvest will end, and the winter will come, and there is still so much to do. Have we said our prayers? Thanked the trees? Who offer their fruits in buckets and buckets and buckets and still more lies on the ground for the insects and birds and deer and Stella dog (who really does love pears, so much). Do we take too much? Or are we still too shy yet? Will there be enough? Are we enough? Will the world crumble, and will we be cared for still, amidst the madness? Can our mistakes be rectified? Is there hope for us in all of this? Will the rains bring promise of a green spring, or a lonely winter? And just who is going to eat all this dried fruit??
I watch the tiny, tender grasses, cropping up after the rains, along the trail of my ritual island hike...verdant green, happy fuzz, on a path that is still scorched and crispy from an especially dry summer. I love that autumnal gift up here in the northwest, the soft green wave that returns in the fall (god willing), as the mosses and tiny grasses drink deep, and bask in the lingering sunshine. This year, it happens against the stark backdrop of my favorite Gary Oak, already gone bare before the rains arrived, and the singed ferns, and the regal Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor) so crispy and fragile…I try not to wonder if it might dissolve and blow away with the winds.
My tender heart will always follow beauty, and embrace hope as an action... as a prayer and a practice...and yet my wise heart does not look away from the great changes at hand, does not hide from the imminent shifts we are witnessing together. I was told once, that in the paradox you'll find the truth. The paradox is neither one, nor the other, but the entirety of what is possible. The threshold into Autumn, like all seasonal shifts, offers an opportunity to rest in a place of liminality, to see through the disguises, and into our true hearts (more on liminal spaces here). We are bewildered by our differences...yet perhaps should be more bewildered by how easily seeds of division, sown by hands unseen, have germinated in these precarious, dusty soils.
Perhaps in the great paradox we find ourselves in, commonality underlies our many shades of being, and belies the stories we've been told that say otherwise. Perhaps the soil should be tended to with care, by lovestruck hands...hands remembering the greatness in our differences, remembering the community that is woven stronger with threads of sovereignty, remembering the immense compassion that is born of challenge and hardship.
This is the story that guides my own heart and prayers…May these harvest days bring you an abundance of new stories, threads of Gold, to be woven in with the beauty of the Old.
Big love from me to each of you,