Autumn has arrived and fills the air with its presence. The crispness of the breeze, the drizzle of the rain. Leaves beginning to turn from green to orange, amber and red. Just the very top of my “Burning Bush” is starting its dramatic change from plain green to bright red, making me look twice out my window whenever it catches my eye. The seed pods on the Magnolia tree are turning “orangey red” and at times looks like there are cardinal ornaments hung all over my tree.
Leaves have begun to fall to the ground, emptying the trees of their clothing, leaving them naked and exposed. The bare branches appearing dead and lifeless, yet reaching up, reaching out with very little left to make a sound when the wind blows.
Autumn is all about the falling off of things, shedding what was once supple, bright and colorful but with the passing of time and changing of seasons will become dry and brittle. Huge trees that provided refuge with all the foliage, now bare, no place for anything to hide in the branches...one must burrow inside to find shelter. My plants that once were green and full get pruned of the seasons growth to ready them for next spring.
This season brings the smell of those fallen, crisp leaves as they crunch under your feet as you walk down the block or gather them in your arms to bag them. I can’t resist giving them a squeeze as I shove them in the bag, allowing the release of the last bit of themselves, the battle over for another year. Never another leaf like them, a new batch already in the making on the tree they just left.
Each day is a surprise, wondering if the sun will shine, will there be frost on the ground...will there be an Indian Summer? Jackets are pulled out of storage, mittens not far behind. Gratefulness whenever we get a warm day. Knowing that you should pull in those plants on that sunny day, but at the same time fooled by its warmth, you think there is going to be another chance. Then that fateful morning when you see the hard frost has come and that plant you were going to nurse through the winter inside the house has succumbed to the weather.
Today I picked my last rose of the season and placed it in my grandma's vase, sniffing it with each pass through the dining room. The tomatoes are slowing down in their maturation, only 1 or 2 a week, instead of a day. Will that squash ever get ripe enough to eat? Can I get one more batch of pesto out of my basil before it’s done?
It’s now October and October brings November and November brings December and then the dreaded January and the foreverness of February and March...oh, but I get ahead of myself, this is only autumn.
I can’t stop thinking about the falling part of this season...so impressive is it we call it “Fall”. The leaves float off the trees when the breeze blows or they are tousled about in a whirlwind tornado as the gusts of wind come. If left undisturbed on the ground, as in the forest, they return vital nutrients to the soil that help the next generation of growth. It seems that is what this season is all about, letting go, stripping bare, clearing away...but first, one last hurrah of color and activity, then silence, dormancy, rest.
In the spirit of fall and releasing of the old, Bill and I have taken time to go though stuff, getting rid of things, putting order to what was chaos throughout the house, paying special attention to our basement. There is more to do for sure, and we trudge on, hoping to clear more clutter. But thankfully we have begun. It’s amazing how holding onto “stuff” keeps you from moving forward and doing things, stunting your growth. If the old leaves keep hanging on, how will the new ones ever appear?
Lets talk about the basement. I have wanted a new washer and dryer for a long time...but the clutter in the basement would have made it impossible to get through to remove the old and deliver the new. The task of sorting and cleaning and getting rid of things seemed so monumental and overwhelming...yet NOT doing anything made my life so much harder. Seeing the mess every time I went down there, using a washer and dryer that were clearly past their prime (which made washing and drying clothes even more of a chore). But actually taking the time to clean up changed so many things and was well worth the effort. Clearing the basement out made a path to make my life easier: 1) New washer and dryer 2) A smile on my face instead of a frown when I look at the newly ordered surroundings 3) Knowing where things are instead of having to look through mayhem to find something. And best of all... the great portion of my brain that got freed up knowing that this task was finally done! It inspired me to do more so I cleaned out two closets and two dressers...amazing.
Sometimes it is a struggle to actually get rid of or throw something out. I surely have things that I would rather hold onto, and my husband comes from a long line of “keepers". But I find that so much “stuff” only encumbers me, weighs me down. Again, the lessons of nature speak to me, inspire me. It can be a sad thing to see the leaves fall and die, and often it's a cold wind that blows those leaves off the tree. As we were cleaning, more than once the harsh words “What are you keeping that for!?!” were uttered as we pushed each other to let things go.
Hard to give things up...there is an empty space where once was something of value, memories, familiar things. But, it’s only for a time, life goes on, seasons change and new things come. Sometimes we like having more room with a clearer view. Sometimes we find something else to take the place of the old. But for sure if we stay stagnant, never allowing for the plucking out, the pruning and the seeding of new, we will wither and cease to bear fruit. It’s the cycle of life...I can fight it, or agree with it. History proves who will win.