23 September 2015


I'm one of those people who love autumn.  It's by far my favorite time of year for many reasons--the cool, crisp air, the changing colors of the foliage, the shorter days, the foods, the harvests. . . I think the list could go on for a long time.  Every year, I'm grateful that I get to live through another autumn, and this year is no exception.  Of course, today is the first official day of the season, but I've already had a couple of weeks of autumn weather and scenery, so I'm grateful this year, too.

On a philosophical level, I think I like autumn because it's a season of preparation.  The world is preparing for a rest during winter, and life seems to be slowing down all around us.  People spend more time indoors (in places where the weather demands it), and thus there's much more intimacy in human relationships.  (Of course, if our relationships are weak or damaged, then that intimacy may not be desired, but that's another story entirely.)  People can spend time together, indoors, over a cup of coffee and a piece of pie without feeling that there's a need to get outside and get something else done.

Just as the world is preparing itself for a long rest, we can spend time in autumn reflecting on our lives and the issues that are present in them.  Autumn gives us a chance to watch much of the world coming to an end, especially the leaves and flowers that have accompanied us all through summer, and witnessing these changes can help us to focus on the changes in our own lives.  What are we passing through right now that will soon be no longer with us?  Is it time to change something important, such as a job or a living situation or a financial situation?  What parts of our lives are coming to an end?  I've had hobbies that I slowly lost interest in, but that I kept up out of habit--it took me a long while to realize that they didn't interest me anymore as much as they had before.  What parts of our lives are turning yellow and orange and red and preparing to fall from the trees?

Life is about cycles as much as it's about anything else.  We go through them, our spouses go through them, our children go through them.  And one important truth about cycles is that they come to an end, and it's important to let them do so and to move on gracefully to something else.  Autumn is a wonderful reminder to us that these cycles are not only natural, but important to us.  When leaves fall in a forest, they form a layer of material that in the future will become fertilizer for following generations of plants.  As we move on from one thing to the next, the lessons that we've learned from one will help us to take full advantage of the next, making our lives richer and fuller.

Today, I think, I'm going to sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and write down some of the things that I need to let go of, and some of the things I long to add to my life.  Autumn is reminding me that perhaps I need to do so.

 Quotations and passages on autumn

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