There is something hypnotic about nature’s ascension into autumn – from the first chill in the air to the first sight of falling leaves. I met and fell in love with my husband five falls ago, in fact. Every year since I look forward to again being lured into its trance.
Last week I ventured to my local market for the purpose of declaring the commencement of my most beloved season. I departed with a cart containing the most shamefully basic autumn essentials – including but not limited to – canned pumpkin, pecan pie flavored coffee, apple cider, a salted caramel candle and Halloween stickers. I stood in the parking lot under the hot 90 degree sun – losing my deodorant – while loading my car with my purchases and pretending to be cradled by the crispness of the autumn air.
At the time of this writing, the gates of September departed less than two weeks ago. Summer may be in its final act, but has not yet taken its final bow. Thus, fall is technically still in dress rehearsal.
I’m not isolated in my madness, though. Social media is evidence that many of us begin chanting for its arrival long before we are satisfied with the development of our summer tan lines. So, I wonder: Why is fall so desired – so enchanting? Why do we feel compelled to race toward it?
Many of us begin preparing somewhere around mid-summer – seduced by notions of curling into corners, warming our hands over bonfires, pumpkin sightings, getting lost inside of corn mazes and steaming our rosy faces over mugs of deliciousness. But, what are we actually anchoring and craving for?
Is it the relief of cooler temperatures after too many instances of having scorched our feet on the summer concrete? Is it the collage of amber and magenta evident on the trees? Is it the layering of garments? The sound of football in the house? The cozy flickering of candles? Halloween’s invitation to step into costume? Is it the offerings of ghostly spook, paranormal investigations and witchery?
Perhaps, but fall is so much more than that.
Fall Is A Romance Between Nature and Man
Summer is a fun-loving celebration of open-aired festivities. It is for diving in – for shrills and shrieks. But, fall is for intimacy and reflection. It is a beckoning from a window seat. Summer may be a vixen oozing with sex appeal, but fall is an extended hand asking us to dance. It is an invitation for romance between nature and man.
Fall is a gorgeous departure – a withdrawal. It is a metaphor for the beauty of slowing down, reassessing, unfurling, releasing and – ultimately – drawing nearer to that which serves us while determining all that must depart from us. There is no mystery about it, my friends: Fall is a reminder that even nature is exquisite when it’s falling apart – when that which was once in fragrant bloom is now dying.
In every stage of our lives, we are learning who we are. We cycle through personal seasons of expanding, unraveling and reassembling. When something dies, it is often disorienting and frightening. But it must occur in order to make way for something else to be birthed.
This means we cannot always be in bloom. When an aspect of ourselves falls apart, we are given the opportunity to channel the wisdom gathered from the previous experience in order to build an even more stable, deeply-rooted structure.
Therefore, we must experience periods of untangling. We must separate from our history so that we can step back and assess every thread – thereby determining which ones are sturdy enough to remain in the fabric of our story. We understand, then, that falling apart isn’t a horror at all. It is no reason to hide in a corner and be spooked. Rather, it offers a harvest of personal reflection. It is a call to die to what no longer supports us so that we can rebuild, reassemble and become more aware of who we are.
Because if nothing ever died it would never matter that anything was ever born. And, too, every time something dies it offers foreshadowing of eventual bloom.
‘Tis the Season For a Clean Sweep
Most people deep clean in the spring, but I am naturally drawn to do so in the fall. It’s the ideal environment for sweeping through the cobwebbed and dusty corners of our lives – whether it be our homes, our automobiles, our personal goals, eating habits or our relationships. We’ve got to sweep through the old in order to make room for what is looming around the corner, waiting to join us.
Be not afraid of what you’ll find. Be only afraid of allowing those decaying things to haunt you from their hiding places.
Be Not Afraid to Let the Dead Leaves Fall…
There is something consoling about watching leaves fall. It’s an organic release. So once you have determined what must depart from your branches, just remember that it is unnecessary to rattle and shake them off with vigor.
You don’t have to be spiteful or vengeful in your process of letting something or someone go. You don’t have to slam any doors, cast any spells, delete any pictures or burn any letters. You don’t have to badmouth that boss or set fire to any bridges. The releasing doesn’t even have to be labeled as “bad” necessarily. If it’s weighing you down, simply inhale, exhale and let it drop. Marvel at the wonder of your ability to change. You can even say to yourself, “My, how lovely you are. How great that you once meant something to me, but now you must fall from my branches so that I can begin anew.”
Because what is dead is… well, dead. What isn’t feeding you isn’t fueling you. What is hindering you will eventually serve to haunt you. Let it go. You can continue stowing that carton of milk in the back of the fridge, but once it is spoiled, it will only take up valuable space and begin to gag you with its stench.
So, discard your stale attitudes, fruitless ventures and moldy old worries. Purge those skeletons from your closet. See those ghosts for what they are, and lovingly send them on their way to the other side. But, most of all, do not grip tightly to dead leaves, friends.
Because fall is the season to see yourself reflected back in the beauty of its sweet release.