There were moments this summer that I knew we’d all explode into one cranky mess, so I left the housework and took my four kids hiking. Solo. One week I think we went 3 times. One hike in particular was hot and sweaty and way-too-long and it was way past nap time, but the water was sparkling with sunshine, and there was the sweaty wildflower bouquet picked for me by my seven-year-old, and these mountains showing off in their glory of fuzzy green arching dinosaur backs; it was worth shucking the schedule for. The dirt, the tired muscles, the sunshine all screamed, “You’re alive!”. It was exultant and glory-filled and full of so much awe. I think the experience was a little bit of a miracle, actually, so much so that I couldn’t help but sing the doxology as we headed back to the car.
Autumn is different. As the leaves change and temperatures begin to drop in the night, I’m finding myself also going inward. Leaving behind the glory, skin- and soul-bearing moments of summer — the season of adventures and dreams — to now reach for blankets and walls to cover up and hide behind, because it just feels appropriate. Summer seems to hold so much promise, so much exultation and hope, and Autumn — as much as it’s a season of new beginnings — also seems to herald death, or at least of hibernation, where things go down deep to see what they’re made of.
Autumn is a glorious leave-taking, a goodbye on the threshold, with colored leaves that push out their life in a glorious explosion right before they fall. It’s this threshold experience — this being in one place but not quite fully in it — that makes the season a bit sad and a bit out of place.
It’s a spot of dreams and melancholy and deep knowing, straddling the brightness of summer and the stillness of winter. And I wonder what I’m going down deep for, to see what I’m really made of. What in me is going to be squeezed out as I die little daily deaths? Is it the praise and glory and the brightness of the changing leaves outside my window? Or am I holding so very tightly to my way, my agenda, my recognition, that all that comes out is a slew of bitterness; not the joyful laughter that fills my children’s lungs, but frowns of disapproval at mess and disorder in my house and in my heart?
It’s little moments of choosing to see beauty in the explosion of color, even as it signals impending death. It’s being grateful for moments of refreshment, even if they feel too few and far between. It’s choosing to love, to give, to show up and be real with another person, no matter the outcome. That’s how we’ll go down deep to come up in the fiery glory of color.
This is the twenty-first post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post.