Autumn happens to be my favorite season as I welcome the lower humidity (as experienced on the East Coast), cooler and crisp days, weather that beckons you to play outside and ride bikes or go for hikes. And every time I mention my favorite season of autumn to others, they mention the regret of shorter days and the coming of winter. The coach in me forever searches for another meaning… another perspective and the metaphor hiding beneath the surface.
In our American culture, is it that we resist death, as in the falling of leaves, because of perceived darkness to come? How might we use the sharpness of light and color, and noticing that is inspired within us just before the falling? How often is it that when we recognize the impermanence of something or someone, we seem to notice what’s special about them and cherish them more? As you know, I am taking care of my elderly mom and I marvel at how I can still find those sparks of beauty and strength, amidst the decline of her memory and her independence.
The leaves that are dying stand out against the perpetual green of the evergreens, and those trees become background to the display of color and life that seems to come to the deciduous trees. If only we could recognize that beauty in our aging seniors and celebrate them as we celebrate autumn splendor? If only we could use our powers to pause and notice in seasons other than autumn? Nature has so much to teach us and each season brings a unique beauty and message. Winter teaches us to slow down; conserve energy; stay warm, and turn inward. We are preparing for the burst of energy and outward focus of spring, with new hopes, dreams, growth, and splendor. Using that burst of energy, we go full throttle into the longer days of summer, filled with activity, adventure, lightness, sunshine, laughter, and play. Just imagine if we had to keep that up all year long? What difference would that make to our ability to pause and notice? Now there’s something to ponder! Are we creating a perpetual summer with our constant use of electronic devices? (I’ll save that for another passage!).
I’ve been finding it more difficult to wake up in the mornings and I am reminded of nature’s slowing down and hibernation. I am choosing to continue to celebrate the beauty of autumn, yet I am celebrating it for a whole new reason. I am celebrating my ability to notice. After seeing a photograph that I took during one of our hikes, a friend of mine commented: “Joy, you see things that others don’t see: what an eye you have!” God has certainly blessed me with that ability and I celebrate it not only with photography, but more-so with nature and people. Here’s to noticing and to the seasons of life!