It’s a Monday evening, the final hours of my typical time off from work. I’m sitting on the patio enjoying the cool fall air, a welcome reprieve from the hot, humid Tennessee summer. Work has been stressful, to say the least. I should be grateful that business is so busy and that the company I work for is making up the money from the Covid shutdown. Deep down I know there is some gratitude in me, but it is being overshadowed by the borage of endless tourists who missed their summer vacation, don’t want to wear their mask and are on edge from all the craziness happening in the country right now.
October is usually the month I get to exhale. Not this year. I feel guilty that my attitude is negative but at the same time, a person can only get hit with the same hammer for so long before the pain is too much. Many of us are at that point in various ways. So here I sit, breathing in the change of seasons and contemplating the months ahead. As I tune myself in to presence I notice the birds have mostly moved on. The absence of their song a sudden reality. Sure, I hear a chirp here and there, with one lone mockingbird swooping down to the grass, hungrily gulping up a worm. But the Cardinals, Finch, Blue Jays, Brown Thrasher and Oriole’s have departed. Where do they go, I wonder? Florida? Cicadas still call out from the trees. Their call and response reminds me of Kirtan music. The olive leaf bush I planted has finally bloomed. It’s perfume is like nothing I have experienced before, a mixture of Apricot blossoms and Lilacs. I close my eyes and inhale. Pure Heaven.
Normally I mourn for summer. Fall always seems to bring with it a mix of sadness and heaviness as I contemplate Winters soon arrival. No more long, hot days bursting with energy and light. The breath of Mother Nature slows down in the fall. She inhales the last bits of life from the leaves and flowers, drawing their color deep in her lungs. She exhales, blowing them through the air, softly at first, but ever more violently as the days go by. In her final breath the trees surrender completely, giving up their last few dried up leaves and draw inward to await rebirth.
This fall is different though. After a spring and summer filled with so many challenges for people all over the world, I welcome fall’s arrival with a desperate heart and mind. I’m glad for the fire of summer to be over, literally and figuratively. Sometimes we need a scorching fire to wake us up from complacency. To make us open our eyes to injustice and jump into action. After a while though, I believe we need to transform that fiery energy into lasting change. We need to inhale the knowledge we have gained and exhale our old ways of thinking and being that no longer serve us. This is the hope I long for in this transition from summer to fall.
I remember many times, when I was a young girl growing up in Northern California, that the wind would beckon me to come outside. I would throw up my arms, twirling and dancing around, feeling it’s power and glory, thinking about what my life would be in the future. I felt hopeful. I know now that it was just Fall moving in even though a part of me clings to the notion that it was a magical wind meant for me. I am now trying to feel that hope again. I am not naïve to the fact that we have some serious changes and challenges ahead of us, which has the potential to bring more fear, violence and suffering. What I refuse to do, however, is give up. If enough of us can find even a little bit of hope, we will have the power to create a better future for everyone.