Saturday, September 27, 2014

Early Autumn Celebration...

My house smells like open to let in the many
earthy smells of the trees, new mown grass, and freshly spread
mulch on the neighbor's garden...all of this accompanied by the
nurturing, nourishing, delectable odor of apples cooking on the
stove for homemade applesauce.

The birds seem overjoyed, too, their songs punctuating the
people-sounds in the neighborhood with melodic delight, a
reminder to me that all-too-soon some of them will be leaving
my yard for warmer climes, leaving the bird feeders to the
cardinals, blue jays, titmice, and woodpeckers.

I love this time of year, with its cooler nights and its daily
juxtaposition of rainy days following closely on the heels of
brilliantly blue ones...with its call to dig out the long sleeves
and sweaters, to put away the pastels of spring and summer
in favor of the oranges and reds and deeper greens and browns
which seem emblematic of the season.

Of course, Autumn is also a season of melancholy...a time
marked by the awareness that the brief, flaring brilliance of the
changing leaves is marking the death of what has been, moving
us into a fallow, quiet time when the reality of our mortality
seems ever before us...when aging skin and aching muscles
and creaking bones and challenged mobility remind us that the
days and weeks and months are passing, that there is not a
moment to be wasted, that life is counted out in breaths taken,
in opportunities grasped, in loving words spoken, in appreciation

Autumn always speaks to me of those I love who are no longer
here among us in the flesh...though my mind and heart are filled
with their presences. Sometimes, I hear their voices, see their
faces in the air around me, as their spirits seem to choose not to
stay dormant and hidden, but make themselves known in ways
both small and great. And often, I find myself dwelling in
Melancholy, that strange and ephemeral land where I wander in
the mists of memory, mindful of the passing time, of the passing
years, and of the still-tender and empty places within me which
no one or nothing else has quite been able to fill.

But lest you think I am sinking into depression- for that has
sometimes been Autumn's accompaniment in my life-
I assure you that these days are also marked by an intense
appreciation for my family and the joy they the
delight engendered by the presence of my friends who color my
life with an endlessly varied and beautiful reading
and writing and cooking. As I look out my window into the
branches of my lovely Japanese maple, I can almost see her
leaves beginning to change to the startling scarlet they will
become, that last wonderful celebration of life before she is
stripped bare to stand shivering in the cold days of Winter,
certain that- come spring- new life will come again. God willing,
also for me...

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