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The Force of Fall

A simple magic has blessed me this Thanksgiving weekend. For as far as I can see down my block the leaves have been stripped from the trees leaving only crooked and gaunt fingers to bend in today’s relentless wind. In my yard, however, hues of green, gold and orange continue to dance to the chaotic rhythms of the multidirectional gusts. The leaves flutter as if to shimmer. Most of my crab apples have yet to drop and I can almost feel the weight of their sweetness as they hang on, days away from becoming squishy fertilizer for the earth beneath.

Autumn’s sparkle has not left my tiny plot of land and each time sunlight refracts off the colours I feel a bit of tenderness loosened in my chest. I don’t recall a time where I have been so affected by the “Autumn-ness” around me.

The last number of years Autumn’s descent into winter was abrupt - sometimes starting as early as mid-September. Snow, frost and wind prematurely rendered the trees barren during those years and adjusting to the loss of summer was rushed. This year, however, seemed the opposite – summer’s song faded in a gentle decrescendo, like a breeze carrying a feather to the ground. The temperatures were warm, the colours vibrant and the sun as golden as the leaves. It has been a dramatic beauty I cannot deny.

The last number of years my heart has collected sadness from loss and pain and it has cast a shadow in my chest where love and hope once lived. Such is the passage into mid-life. This is a time where illusions of what I thought should be have been replaced with what IS, what is REAL, not ideal. In this stage of life loss of loved ones and health HAPPENS, the end or change of relationships and youthful endurance HAPPENS. And, as we see more currently, the breakdown of society or lifestyle as we have known it HAPPENS. It can be a wretched time of disillusionment that I could avoid through a variety of means – consumerism, addiction, keeping up with others, building a shiny persona, staying busy or shutting down.

This season, try as I might, I could not keep my heart protected in a comfortable shut down from the beauty I was surrounded by. The Fall forced its way inside me. I have been called outside daily to sit in my favourite chair in the middle of the lawn where I’d catch the most sun and often I’d just sit there. Yes. Just sit there. Which seems comical in an era of constant stimulation. It's not terribly easy to just be – a lot of murky waters can arise from the swamp of stillness. And it has. As I stayed, though, and as the Autumn burned on with its flaming colours I began to notice more than my sadness. My senses would sometimes become entirely filled with colour, light, and scent. A few times I laid on the musty earth, the cool grass beneath and the warm air above. It was a full sensate meditation on beauty, and this beauty became goodness, and this goodness became the nectar of healing in which I bathed for the entire month of September. It was what I imagine the alchemical blending of metals might be – gold melting into the cast iron chambers of my heart.

Now I remember once again, in my whole being, that the GOOD weaves its way into all the seasons of our lives. The pain of ageing and collecting difficult experiences over time is a reality of being alive. Yet, despite the murk and muck of existence, the world is sometimes golden – and that, too, is REAL.

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