Another summer draws to a close and another fall ushers in another winter. We New Yorkers should be pretty adept to change...you would think.
If there is anyone out there who follows my train of thought whatsoever, the changing of the seasons could really teach us all something about life and stand as an example of those things we "cannot change." Even with the somewhat predictable nature of these seasons..they never quite live up to our expectations...summers are never long enough and winters are always TOO long. The nice weather never seems to arrive within our timeframe for it and the winter is only welcome long enough to give us a beautiful backdrop for all of the Christmas lights and décor. The summers are either too cold and rainy or too hot and humid and the winters....well, last winter anyway...was downright bitter and destructive. And Spring and Fall...yeah, they are the transition periods...neither are around very long...as they are preparatory phases. Spring...the preparatory period of birth, abundance, and beauty. Fall, the period of surrender to the inevitable loss of form. I have a hard time disconnecting myself from nature anymore. Once I made that connection, it became an ingrained sense of "oneliness"--one that directs my attention to all that is and marks my steps for me, attunes my attitude to acceptance and lessons my desire to minimize and direct everything according to my wishes and/or level of comfort.
Fall has always been a most beloved time of the year for me. It marks the harvest, the landscape displays a beautiful array of color and the scent in the air is nothing less than scrumptious. However, it has become bittersweet to me now. As I see myself in all that is...I also see the withering, and as each leave falls from a tree, it sends into my spirit a sense of mournful empathy. I feel the tree letting go of all that once made it stand tall and proud--as all of its lush beauty begins to thin and fall to the ground. The shelter it once provided from the elements begins to weaken as little by little, it's canopy is now taken by the wind to return to the soil. The flowers, once bright and vibrant begin to lose their color and take on a hue of brown--the grass stops growing. I begin to see the birds gather in large flocks in the almost barren trees, harkening to one another that it is time to pack up and leave this desolate place in search of more adequate shelter and abundant food sources. It begins to turn cold and on a windless day...there is nothing but silence. It is as if all of the life has passed away. There are no birds singing when we awaken, no crickets singing us to sleep, no sound of rain upon the rooftop. It is just all gone.
It is exactly the way of life isn't it? There are periods of celebration and there are periods of mourning. Moments of birth...and moments of great loss. Periods of life bursting all around us and periods of lonely desolation. Only, the trees cannot resist the will of the infinite--they must surrender and succumb. They, themselves do not die at all....the grass doesn't die, the flowers don't die...they merely take on a different form...by losing form..for a time. They return to their lush and vibrant beauty during the season of birth and regeneration. The nature of nature is acceptance of what is NOW. It adapts, changes, and surrenders to the part of it that is all-powerful, all- knowing, and ever present. The part that is bigger than itself. There is LIFE beyond our limited scope of it...there is life more abundant out there..the life that sustains life...maybe living is not limited to breathing, a pulse, and the ability to think. Maybe life just IS....within a FORM or outside of it. There are parts of nature that we don't see all up close and personal...such as the movement of the air....such as the intimate relationship between the moon and the seas, such as the billions of stars being born and populating the cosmos..the planets and moons and suns that move instinctively in rotation around them. How much of LIFE and all that lives do we really understand? We understand what we have the capability to understand...what nature allows us to understand by its interaction with us, its display and behavior across time. I dare say, if we look closely enough at what we are PERMITTED to experience, we may begin to see things a bit differently, we may begin to appreciate this beautiful living example of how we are to live here on this earth and recalibrate our focus to look TO nature as a part of us, something that lives in us...instead of something we are a part of and have to live with.
I mean, really, it is played out over and over and over and OVER again....when are we going to stop seeing nature and its changing seasons as merely something we HAVE to live with, adapt to, and prepare for and allow the message it is attempting to send us to permeate our "it's all about me and my survival" default. It is drawing a pattern for us year after year. The loss of form is not the loss of life. The change of form IS the circle of life. It does not hope for our understanding, but it does bid us to consider. We tend to view those "inanimate" objects of nature as somewhat lower forms of life...we feel that we cannot empathize with them because they do not have a mind or a central nervous system--the ability to "think or feel"...and they may not...but WE do. They ARE ALIVE, have a purpose, and really should be revered, because in all honesty...these inanimate objects of nature SUSTAIN us. Why would it seem at all crazy to treat them as if.....see them as if.....and know them as if.....just this simple act of willingness could very well lend us ALL a clearer understanding, a more solid sense of purpose, and a closer kinship with ALL life--which could invariably lead us to a greater appreciation for a more meaningful and abundant life.
That is my sermon for the day. Don't label...but BE WITH, LIVE AMONG, and find that connection. Look at nature without labeling it. Look at it as if you were looking at it for the first time...remember the wonder in your children's eyes when they saw or experienced something for the first time....and the immense digging to the bottom of it all curiosity in all of the "but why's". Once we label something, we lose interest in it and it just becomes part of the background, a topic of conversation, and a thing that merely exists. I think we miss so much of what is truly important on our journey here...we listen to the screams and ignore the whispers--we believe what we see instead of searching out everything to find that which is really worth believing. We spend instead of invest, we seek fun instead of joy, we wish to have instead of to share and give..we hope for an inheritance in favor of creating a legacy.
These beautiful sugar maples lining my driveway, the wildlife that perches in their outstretched branches, the waters that flow through the valleys, the rain that falls from the sky, my animals that await in patient excitement for me to awaken in the morning to give them love and feed them, and the air that I breathe have taught me way more about life, love, expression, purpose and belonging than anything else. We are all made of the very same substances...in different forms.
Be still and KNOW....