Something is about to be born, enter stage left, pop into view. Perhaps it’s summer, about to leave the northern hemisphere and slide down the globe past the equator to those “down under” and allow autumn to enter. The days have that in-drawn breath quality about them, a slow, inexorable dying-down of the garden; the sun no longer at its zenith but unhurriedly changing angle to slant in that autumnal way it has; the barest tinges of color at the tips of leaves; a certain stillness in the air. Even rain has lost its vigor, falling sans thunder, quiet patter on windows its only greeting.
Listening to the absence of growth, flower and fruit — hearing a different sort of tuning down, one of clearing, vacancy, void — I realize this is also a natural state, a true time of change, a pulling in of energy to allow a more internal growth, resting, allowing fallowness, introspection and a good empty space for fertility to flourish.
Even though this is a time of year in which to enjoy the fruits of summer’s labor, to begin a soft, sweet drawing in, it goes largely ignored in the flurry of “lasts” — last summer party, last weekend before school starts, last kayak or canoe trip, the last swim. We run about gathering pens, notebooks, flash drives, clothes, lunch supplies. We lose the sweetest time of year in a swirl of “getting ready’s” and “shutting down’s.” We miss the subtle and beautiful time of year that calls us to stop and smell the aroma — one of gentleness, of leisureliness.
Sitting quietly in an early autumn morning, I wonder how it would be if instead of an abrupt cessation, final door-slamming of activity, the last concentrated burst of doing, we simply, gradually, permitted a sort of screen-door closing, went onto a porch and, instead of lamenting, breathed in the cooler air, listened to geese announcing their flight number (to other geese), to the leaves rustling in anticipation of their color change. I wonder how it would be if we accepted the fading of verdant, fertile, the lushness and simply waited, waited for bare branches, leaves crunching underfoot, a more northerly wind, paler blue of skies, watered-down sunlight slanting from a different direction?
When we rush through this amazing experience called life, we do it and ourselves a disservice. We distance even further from the Divine. We disallow ourselves any pleasure by insisting, “But there’s so much to do!” We, unwittingly stand next to a marvelous buffet and refuse to take a plate. We do not open the package in front of us, choosing instead to talk about the lack of packages or that we really don’t have time to look at them.
What if we thanked the garden for its abundance, and wished it good rest through the winter? What if we reminisced about the good times we had in our backyard, in nature, with our family and friends? What if, instead of bemoaning back to school, closing down patios or swimming pools, we thought about the good times we had and began to think of the next time we would engage in those activities? What if we excused ourselves from a single event and just allowed the time of year to be the event?
Would we then, diverge from dragging our feet like a petulant child when playtime is over and toys are to be put away, crying, and complaining and instead take in a breath, enjoy the transition and what it has to offer us, then enter the next calendar phase ready for what it brings?