As I sit on our porch swing watching the days go by; I wonder about where we’ve been, where we’re going and why I ask why. I wonder at the changing seasons that pass so often without even noticing them and the sighs so deep in remembrance that tears flood my eyes. I wonder why I’m here and why I keep writing words on this page. I wonder at the mystery of colored leaves, honeybees and the smell of sage. I wonder why I wonder, and I even wonder about you. . . .
My only living uncle is now ninety one year’s young. He retired from his business years ago but never retired from life or from embracing another day. A few years back when he was eighty five, he invited me to go on a two week Great Lakes sailing adventure with two of his friends. The skipper of the fifty foot sailboat was also in his eighties, the first mate was in his seventies and I was the youngster in my sixties. The water had magic in its waves while the wind danced delightfully through the many days. The earth sighed as we joyfully sailed into the unknown.
I share this little story because it speaks of lives that are lived here and now with no excuses for why or how. It speaks of living life to its fullness even as the metaphorical leaves are turning and eventually falling from the trees. Each of us face this every day without much or any attention but as we navigate the autumn of our lives, the choices we make are more like the autumn leaves than of spring trees. Autumn is a time for greater reflection and more attention to the magic of colored leaves and shedding trees. It’s a time of awakening to that which always comes after the winter, spring and summers of our lives. The magic is in the transitions of our positions.
Across the road is an elder green leafed tree with only three branches covered with red leaves. It’s as if these three branches have a secret they’re sharing with the many other branches about who they’ve been and who they’re going to be. I see them as grandmothers and grandfathers paving the way for those who will follow. Here, in the natural order of things, these red leafed branches speak to the others by giving their very best as they finalize their journey in this soulful autumn rest. It’s their gift of awe, wonder and verdancy for the new life that follows for all.
As they and we progress further along the downward slide into the darkest days toward the winter solstice, we also reach toward the days of greatest light at the summer solstice. Like these seasons, we humans swing from darkness to light to darkness and light as we make our way through the many seasons of soul. We also have seasons within seasons that reflect the cycles of nature; that determine our transitions of gestation, birth, growth, maturity, verdancy, flowering, harvesting, decline, death and rebirth. The cycles of life continue on endlessly. . . .
As we come to an awareness of these ever present cycles, we can bring each season into another season. The ninety year old person can retain youthfulness in many ways while the twenty year old can become aged and decrepit through depression, addiction and abuse. The adult can remain an adolescent while the adolescent can become an adult. Each of us is programmed to become a flower, a towering oak, a reservoir of abundant life. The blueprint we call soul however can be ignored in ways that skew our natural trajectories. The trees can become diseased, the flowers can be trampled upon, the waters can become polluted, the food can become toxic.
In the Autumn soul there’s a necessary and natural sense of verdancy, harvest and reflection. There’s also a natural sense of care, nurturance and passing on the best of what we’ve come to know. The elders have magic in their colored leaves and a natural humility that sighs with the earth, air, fire and water as they release their gifts to the wind. We are those trees with the green, red, yellow, and orange leaves. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for to open the doors of perception. We’re the ones standing at the crossroads waiting for our ride: The ones called to maturity, awareness, illumination and the journey for ourselves and others to the other side. . . .
- As you spend time outdoors in this Autumn season, engage the trees and their leaves as they sway in the breeze. Feel the wisdom in their presence. Awaken to the messages they send to you and to all who patiently observe and inwardly digest their presence.
- Sit quietly and ponder where you are in this Autumn season of soul no matter what your age. Ponder your maturity, awareness, illumination and your journey. What is this season asking of you? What are you being called to give attention to? What are the messages?
- Give yourself the gift of meditative walks in this Autumn season of soul. Become more aware of the earth, the air, the fire of life and the water that wells up within you.