As a kid, I didn’t think I liked the autumn.
It meant going back to school, the end of swimming and the beginning of the end of riding my bike. It meant I’d soon be making my daily walk along the old dirt road up to the bus stop along Highway 69, bundled up uncomfortably, bracing against the wind, trudging through the snow.
But at some point in my adult life I addressed my issues with the autumn, and decided to open my heart to its beauty. I started noticing how long the radiance of summer really lasts, how lovely the leaves are as they begin to turn, how the smell of woodsmoke and the lengthening shadows, the frost on the ground and the nip in the air actually hint at the promise of winter’s secret warmth.
The time of turning inward is upon us as the autumn begins to fall. And there is so much warmth within.
In beginning to embrace the beauty of this previously unappreciated season, I started to notice how rich a time it is. How the harvest reveals its bounty just at the time when the appetite begins to sharpen for the good things of the Earth. How Thanksgiving culminates a season of blessings in a ceremony without commercialism. Thanksgiving gifts are the foods of the fields and farms and forests, and the only requirement of us is that we appreciate them by enjoying them and sharing them with the ones we love.
In embracing that, I discovered previously hidden aspects to harvest time. It’s not just food that seeds and roots and ripens through the course of the spring and summer. We don’t labour only in the fields, and the energy of the summer courses through all things. Our relationships, our understandings, our opportunities, it seem to me, also grow as we feed and tend them through the blessed months of plenty. Long after the solstice signals the sun’s returning to its nascent place in the sky, these things too, having blossomed and bloomed, begin to bear fruit.
I don’t know how that works, or why. I don’t know if it works for everyone. But I see this amazing miracle manifest in all kinds of ways in my own life. Frequently, its momentum carries me right into the winter. The stark, dark and bright beauty of the cold season is so much easier to appreciate after fattening on the finer things we reap at harvest time.
All I can do is appreciate. All I can be is grateful. All I can say is “thanks” for the seasons, of the soul as of the sky.
The darkness that looms in the lengthening of the night is nothing but the resting of the light. Winter welcomes us, our fields neatly furrowed, our bellies full, our plump good works well tended and our dreams laid in for the year.
Soon enough comes spring.