The flowers in the meadow took a bow on September’s behalf as she tip-toed off the stage. It was the least they could do. She brought them to bloom and carried them to seed, after all. For her, they accepted the honor and applause falling from the sky in the guise of colored leaves.
How smoothly she had turned the days from Summer into Autumn, the green to gold. So cleverly had she blended the songs of birds and crickets that you couldn’t even say when the one ended and the other began. And now the birds were gone and the mornings that had been so clear dawned shrouded in fog. What magic!
And now, she, too, was gone. And in her honor, the meadow flowers took a bow and called, “Farewell, Sweet September! Farewell.”
Look how the heart of you glows with fire! Your dried leaves crackle with flame and flicker in the late morning breeze, eager with excitement, ready to fly like sparks into the clear blue sky.
This is your glory hour, the one that I imagine you dream about in summer when your leaves are languid and lush, and on cold winter nights when you stand bare in the frost and snow.
This is a moment to live for, the time when you stand brilliant in the sun, drenched in beauty that takes our breath away and makes us glad to be alive, just to see you, glowing with fire.
No corner goes untouched by Autumn’s brush. She wastes no time. Her miracles are both expected and inevitable. She cannot fail.
And yet, to her, it is all light and play. Every moment is bathed in bliss and delights her. What work could be grander than this? To paint the leaves and set them free to fly! To swab the gourds and pumpkins with gold and send them off to market! To dance in the wind to the crickets’ song, painting, painting, painting!
And her joy energized the world, and its people set about their tasks with new vigor. And as they walked through the colored, fallen leaves, they said to themselves, “What could be grander than this!”
The Great Yes always provides. Today it is berries for the birds’ journey south. Sometimes it is help when none seemed at hand. Or hope when all seems lost.
Always a light dawns to quench the darkness. Openings appear. Faith rises in response to surrender. Answers flash into view.
Don’t allow life’s maze to trick you to despair. The world is far more wondrous than we know. And forever there is this certainty: The Yes provides, and you are known and loved.
Flowers know the secret: Catch the sun. Let it feed you with its light until your hunger disappears. Let it bathe you in its warmth until no brittleness remains. Let its healing soak into your very soul and wash away the darkness.
Catch the sun. Dance in its spectrum until you are whole. Fill yourself with the music of its starshine. Reel in its joy until it is the core of you.
Then open to the world and let your beauty shine.
As evening came, the thistle bade farewell to her seed. “From the Great Yes, we come into being,” she sang, “And to the Great Yes, I gratefully give my all.”
She remembered the springtime, when the life force quickened the seed into which her own essence had entered. She recalled the thrill of pushing outward into the light and upward, ever upward, becoming stem and leaves, thorns and flower. How exquisite it all had been, to live on this beautiful earth! To feel the air, the see the plants of the meadow come rise and blossom, to dance beneath the wondrous sky, to feel the pulse of the sun and moon and stars.
Now it was her time to send her forth her seeds that they, too, might bring forth life and know its joy. “Farewell, my children,” she sang. “You are my gifts of love, given for all the tomorrows that wait for you. Sail free, dear ones. May you dream great winter dreams, and wake to beauty.”
As autumn rushes in, her colors and cold in tow, she sets aside some places of calm, refuges from the tumult, a place where sun and shadows balance and peace resides.
Within each of us, such places dwell, peaceful little meadows of reverie and dream, places to sit for a while and gather ourselves when the rush of the world overwhelms.
It’s good to map them out, to keep little postcards of them in our pockets. It’s good to remember the scent of them, and the season, and the sound. Practice floating to them; it’s as easy as breathing. Then sit, and hear the whispers: You are welcome. You are cherished. You are loved.
As Summer slipped away, September wrapped a wreath around the trunk of the ancient oak, a token to the beauty that her stay had wrought. She brought life to its fullness, and left behind the seeds for life’s renewal.
The wreath was a welcome gift, too, set out for glorious Autumn and fashioned in her favorite hues.
This day was the day of the Great Transition. Now the hours of light would grow short, and Autumn would prepare the earth for rest. She would finish the harvest and ripen the last of the berries and seeds. She would honor the trees with bold colors and set their leaves flying free.
She would lovingly weave a blanket of dreams to protect the life-seeds through their long sleep. And before she left, she would bless the fields with snow.
And today was the day of her arrival, and beneath a crystal blue sky, all the creatures trumpeted their joyous welcome song.
It’s not like you wake up one morning and suddenly all the trees have turned orange. Autumn works more subtly than that.
She eases you in, one leaf at a time. A bit of coral here, a swath of lemon there, a spot of red. You may hardly notice.
She has a vision and a general plan to guide her. She does all that each day allows her to do.
Although her task is monumental, she views her work as play. She lets every moment be her finest, and attends to each detail with carefulness and joy. That way, the pieces are as pleasing as the whole, and the wholeness will happen as it may, exactly on time.
Then one morning when you wake, all the trees will sing with color and be dancing in the laughter of a mid-autumn breeze. And you may wonder to yourself how such a thing could be, and autumn’s secret answer is one leaf at a time.
So it’s official now. You’re saying goodbye. This is the last day of the last weekend of your stay. I understand; you must go.
If my eyes glisten as I walk along the wetlands, it is only because you are so beautiful.
If I sigh as your winds blow through my hair, it is only to join the poplars in their song.
If I pluck an aster and hold it to my heart, it is to press the essence of you into my being, that I may feel your warmth when the cold winds howl.
I will drink your clouds this day and breathe the fragrance of you. And when you send that one, last monarch butterfly to cross my path, I will stand without moving and watch it until, like you, it disappears.
And my soul, overflowing with thankfulness, will whisper a loving amen.