Autumn amazes me. The blackbirds and sparrows fly like piece of fabric on the wind – one plane but undulating like a wave, turning as precisely as if they had internal GPS. The geese fly in formation, and land as one choreographed chorus of dancers on the river. The deer begin to group up into small herds. How it they know to do that, automatically?
The leaves change from a deep green to vibrant yellow and red. The constellations move in such a way that we miss familiar “faces” for a time. We lose two minutes per day of daylight until March, like clockwork. How does that happen?
I know, I know, it can be explained easily by science and chemistry. But knowing how it happens in detail doesn’t take away, at all, from the sheer magical experience of noticing it. Experiencing the Holy in it.
Noticing changes transforms how I relate to this time of year. From “brrr…do I have to get out of bed?!” and cries of “argh – where’d I put my longjohns?!” becomes “oh. my. Just look at that palette of colour!” The fire-engine red of the sumac tree in my yard always brings a smile to may face, and the orange of that hedge shrub makes me feel “everything’s going to be alright”.
I, too, lament that the sun doesn’t have that kiss of warmth in it. I, too, don’t like the fact that, sooner than I consciously think, it will be dark long before my supper’s out of the freezer. Yes, I, too, don’t look forward to feet and feet of snow to shovel.
But when I just stay noticing what is around me, how the animals behave in this time of change, how the earth and sun move and change, I am stopped short with Awe and Wonder and Gratitude. It becomes one of those “take your breath away” moments. A Timeless Now.
No matter what else I may be lamenting this week (and there’s lots to be sad about if you listen to the news, and look around our province), this glory of Autumn makes me feel that it’s going to be ok.
My work is to Be Aware; call it “mindful”, maybe. Whatever, I am to Be Amazed, Be Grateful, and let that lead me to caring for the bit of land and air that I have to steward.
Maybe it’s enough to recognize and be part of this Holy Time.
Many thanks for the great photography of gettyimages.co.uk, rockland.luhudblogs.com, and bio.brandeis.edu