As a kid it was the smell of new leather shoes that we certainly couldn’t afford but bought anyway, and piles of leaves burning up the way on Kidder Farm where we got our milk until the late 70’s. It was my mother creating countertops covered in apple breads with nuts and pastry fold-overs filled with canned figs and berries from the neighbors bushels. Fall in the Northeast is idyllic; it’s eye candy and soul relief after the thick stickiness of summer. It’s the refrain between two eye blinding brights; the golden sun and the white of winter snow. Autumn brought a new year of school, which marked me a year older, a year different. A letting go summer’s freedom, my old leather shoes that my toes pushed into, long days under the yew tree daydreaming my future, letting go of my past. Manifesting. My life now, no doubt.
Autumn in the Northwest is different and the same. It’s the gate between perfect weather and not so perfect weather. It’s your last moments of golden hue and long hours outside. It’s your guide into grayness where you harvest, store, savor, plan, infuse, bottle, ingest. The past four years that I have lived here have been all Autumn, my prolonged season of free-falling, embodying that leaf that just twirls in the air, caught in some air stream or attached to a single spider web suspended above it’s next destiny by a branch.
I have obviously experienced and enjoyed the micro-seasons of my macro, tasting the fruits of summer, freezing my toes in the waters of winter and fertile at first sight of spring buds. But over all, I have been in a Death Season, grasping at what I was: an actively birthing and breeding mother and reaching forward to a new phase that was pure mystery. It’s been a long grieving period, not really want to die or step out of my roles that had gotten comfortable, but also a deep knowing that I can’t rush it the process, that trust is essential to allow the end to come. Trust is essential.
Observing the process I could possibly say these were the most stressful four years of my life as well as the most beautiful; they were searching, serving, longing, receiving, hurting, questioning, moving. They were full of planting seeds and making milk. Of walking wet dark forests and lying against bright lime green farm valleys. Of being washed over by the sea, heated to an amber glow and whipped by fire, knocked down by wild howling wolf wind and swallowed by brown, wormy, muddy earth. It’s been interesting to die, to be alchemized and potentized. It’s interesting to watch yourself step outside yourself and walk away from you, saying goodbye.
Nothing is quite as hold –your- heart and gasp-in beautiful as a deciduous death. The texture and colors and movement are meccas for eyes that long to know the need and desire to Let Go. Because in that there is a hopeful truth: the leaf falls into something great, something that is all that Was, Is and Will Ever Be. Death is so lovingly supported by Earth. As everything falls, we are cradled by the essence of life, all encompassing compostable unity of the broken down. And from there being born is simple.
I think of our world right now in the Season of Death, in the state of Autumnal Magic. What is happening out there is ghostly and evolutionally beautiful. We are becoming a skeleton of what we once were; a memory of what we have been clanking forward, bones chattering, cold and skinless. We are all dying, all around this amazing place. The surrender is the hardest part, the trust that we are going to be supported by our Home, by our Ground, by the foundation we have build for lifetimes.
I hope my dying has been a beautiful expression, somehow it feels that way to me. My prayer is that I am falling into supported ground, a place to gather and rest, and bow down to who has come before me, and sit in faith with the harvest that death does bring. My prayer is that the world’s death is a beautiful as a newborn being born into the hands of a hormonally high Mother and we are loved and nurture as new being ready to Live.