Here in Damariscotta Mills, there have been a few big blows that have shaken down the deadwood, and the lawn is now strewn with kindling. I see muted colors melding all around me, creating a warm-toned blanket on the landscape of Fall. I admire the poise of this season as it goes about the task of letting go, squarely facing the inevitable, secure in the appropriateness of surrender.
Sunlight angles more sharply and with great articulation. The architecture of trees is increasingly evident. In this season the fundamentals are revealed. What warmth remains is appreciated, in part because this could be the last gentle day before Winter sets in. We receive these final offerings with a degree of reverence distinct to this time of year.
The season is patient but precise. Our intellect may wish to negotiate, to extend, but the Fall is not really negotiable. If it were there would be no renewal.
It is easy to become rigid in this season, focusing on what’s been left undone, the many ways we are unprepared, and how the impending season is not secure. We may feel we have not put our house in order, and it is hard to let go. We may ache for the health of the planet and insist on remaining ever vigilant.
Yet the wisdom of the in-flight attendant rings true; ‘Place the mask over your own face and then help place the mask over the face of your loved one’. We must care for ourselves if we are to care for those we love. The unattended tasks will not be resolved over the weekend. This is, after all, a marathon and not a sprint. Conserve for the work ahead. Prepare by taking into account the need for rest and renewal. The season’s message is to let go, and to trust that letting go is not giving up. We are part of the cycle of the seasons, and that includes the great shake down of Fall. And decline and stillness are the mothers of Spring.
Think seasons, not news cycles. The brittle, anxious, fearful, ungrounded quality of the time can leave us vulnerable to manipulation. This cacophony lives alongside the steady flow of our rivers, the breathing of the tides, and the supple swaying of trees. The natural world is a prayer and we belong to it. Our drama can obscure the reality of how the planet functions with a unitary wisdom.
We are not exempt from natures logic or consequences. We are no different than the leaves that settle in a halo of warm-tones on the ground. The challenge for us is to follow the lead of the tree, noting how it’s leaves let go at the right time, effortlessly. Can we struggle less with what is inevitable, and accept there is a time to release and let ourselves fall, trusting, into the arms of the unknown.