This is the season of letting go. As we move into the mid November time of late fall the low slant of diminishing light portends an even deeper darkness for the months ahead. Fall has always been a hard time for me. Even, or maybe especially, because of all of its color burst of glory which I know is soon to end. Unlike the first greens of spring, I know that these reds and golds are short-lived. As I shuffle through the fallen leaves in my yard or look out my window at the maple still blazing against the Caribbean-blue sky I’m reminded of these lines from the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, Spring and Fall, “Margaret, are you grieving over golden grove unleaving….it is Margaret you mourn for.” For me, the slant of light, the early darkness, the dust of dried-up leaves-all penetrate my body and become a knowing that I too am part of this seasonal cycle.
Now, as I live into the latter part of my “third age,” as I accompany more of my older siblings and in-laws as they experience illness and death, I realize more vividly my own mortality. As a student of Earth wisdom and the revelations of the evolving universe I know intellectually that the life and death and regeneration cycle is continually unfolding in new and creative ways. I see that as Steve Jobs, the Apple guru, has said, “Death is the best invention of life…” because our knowledge of it allows us to live with purpose and intention-to flourish fully in the present that we have. Really knowing in a deepening way that our time here is limited helps us realize what is most important to us and guides us in letting go of what is secondary, what is sidetracking us from what and who we love most.
Personally, that means that I need to take the time and quiet to connect with my heart and to uncover my “best self,” my true nature, as it were, and to allow the energy and passion that flows from that to direct my daily well-being. As I light my candle in the darkness of my room, connect with my breath and body in the silence and quiet my mind I can merge with the energies of life and death and regeneration and come to peace.
And what better time to do that but in the silence and darkness of late fall moving into winter! My hope is that in doing that through this season I might not only live more fully but that I might also “practice” in small ways to prepare for the enormous letting go that any death requires.