Community//

The Irresistible Invitation of Fall

Allowing the simultaneous fall into self

Falling into self.

We’re quickly nearing the official start of the fall season, and already
here the weather has started to shift. Today, as I look out my office
window, I see a cool grey sky and tree tops being blown by a strong
wind. The leaves have entered the next phase of their life
cycle…their movement toward death. Soon they’ll start falling to the
ground in a sort of potter’s field of red and yellow and orange. And all
of this reminds me of why I love this time of year, though, for many,
it can also be
challenging.

For me, fall has always been a welcome change to summer’s heat and
intensity. The outward expansion of summer is met by the colder, more
inward, energy of fall. I love summer – doors and windows open, we’re
out exploring the world, meeting friends, traveling, and are often more
active than at other times. But the contrast that fall offers is
irresistible to me. (Not to mention the tapestry of color the trees
provide!).

It was a blazing hot summer, years ago, when a dear friend said, “I’m
sick of these sunny days.” She was in the midst of a breakup when we had
a two-week heat streak with temperatures in the upper 90s and nothing
but sun, sun, sun. “I just want one rainy day,” she sighed. And I knew
what she meant. The heat and sun left her feeling she had to go out
and “enjoy” the day, but one rainy day would give her the excuse she
felt she needed to stay home and do what every cell in her body longed
to do. Grieve.

Grieve the death of her relationship. She didn’t want to be “sunny”
about it, she wanted to have a good cry, and she longed for a rainy day
to complement her mood and the grieving process. She wanted to
contemplate this transition in her
life.

Of course not everyone needs a rainy day to be their excuse to stay home
and be contemplative, but it helps. And, for me, that’s what fall
represents. It presents the contrast to all that we typically hold up
as our “ideal” – sun, hot, light, expansion – and (re)introduces us to
that which we often try and avoid – cold, dark, contraction. Fall often
symbolizes aging, death, and the silence that accompanies
them.

Fall represents the end of nature’s life cycle. All around us we find
evidence of the reality that we know all things face. But, more
symbolically, we sense the energy of things slowing down, and if we
welcome this change, this can be a time of retrospection and reflection
for us. If you’re anything like me, then you welcome the opportunity to
simply “be” that fall seems to invite. And the insight and clarity
that slowness and silence make possible. You may even choose to reflect
on the impermanence of all things – this moment, this day, this time in
our lives, relationships, and, ultimately, this
life.

This is not meant to be depressing. No, in fact, if you’ve ever allowed the
natural life cycle of a moment, a period of time, a relationship, a
person, to be as it is – impermanent – you may know the sense of
reverence that grows out of that awareness. You likely know the deep
sense of gratitude and appreciation for life that this acceptance of
“how things are” engenders. You may have had your moments, upon this
type of reflection, infused with a profound sense of meaning and a love
of life that you’d not known before.

I once heard a radio program on NPR (that’s National Public Radio to my
non-US-based friends!) lament the end of summer and the start of fall.
Gone, it said, were the hot summer days full of fun and friends. In,
they said, was the return of the darkness and the cold (read: death,
both real and symbolic). But perhaps they’ve missed fall’s greatest
invitation – to go inside, to “be with”, and to contemplate and deeply know
this life in the
process.

Do you love fall? If so, what do you love about it?

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