Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The autumn of your soul

(Josh Post) It’s November here in Northern Virginia and the trees are all ablaze in their fall colors. For many people spring is their favorite time of the year and while I love spring, with its bright feelings of hope as things emerge from the earth, fall has always been the season that captures my imagination. Fall has what I call “a quiet melancholy” that always seems to inspire my mind and draw my attention away from the hustle and bustle and out into the wilds, into stirring leaves chattering with animals making their final preparations for winter colds, and out to the lake where the wind ripples across the water and the fish make one more strike at the line. In our society we seldom notice the seasons. With supermarkets and all of our modern conveniences we no longer need to put up feed for our animals and make sure that the produce of the garden is canned and safely stored away. Few of us stack the wood pile anymore to make sure that we remain snug through the winter, or oil and sharpen the tools before storing them away for the year. Yet even with all our activity there is still a feeling to fall that makes room for thought and contemplation, there is beauty, yes, with the Maples looking like living torches and the Birches gracefully pointing to the sky, but sadness too in knowing that soon the beauty will blow away and winter will come to stretch its cold hands across the earth. Fall, like life, blazes brilliantly for a little while and then fades away but rather than regret the shortness of the season, pause... and enjoy the wonders all around.

“...It was not yet very cold, the mild melancholy of November still lingering gold in it, in falling leaves and slanting amber light. All the apples were in the loft, all the corn milled, the hay long stacked, the sheep turned into the stubble fields. A time to pause, to look round, to make sure nothing had been neglected, no fence unrepaired, against the winter. He has never before been so acutely aware of the particular quality and function of November, its ripeness and its hushed sadness. The year proceeds not in a straight line through the seasons, but in a circle that brings the world and man back to the dimness and mystery in which both began, and out of which a new seed time and a new generation are about to begin. Old men, thought Cadfael, believe in that new beginning but experience only the ending. It may be that God is reminding me that I am approaching my November. Well, why regret it? November has beauty, has seen the harvest into the barns, even laid by next years seed. No need to fret about not being allowed to stay and sow it, someone else will do that. So go contentedly into the earth with the moist, gentle, skeletal leaves, worn to cobweb fragility, like the skins of very old men, that bruise and stain at the mere brushing of the breeze, and that flower into brown blotches as the leaves into rotting gold. The colours of late autumn are the colours of the sunset: the farewell of the year and the farewell of the day. And of the life of man? Well if it ends in a flourish of gold, that is no bad ending. – Ellis Peters “Brother Cadfael’s Penance”

1 comment:

Gretchen said...

AUTUMN by Emily Dickinson
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.