Notes on a Buddhist path

Falling

October 31, 2011 By | 4 Comments

“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” ~ E.B. White, “Charlotte’s Web”

Autumn is my most favourite time of year. There’s an anticipation of winter’s chill that whispers its touch against your ears for a fleeting moment and the satisfying exhale of harvest time with all its fruits and bountiful successes. Life has produced so much. Each seed that pushed its way through the sodden spring earth, that summoned up roots and leaves and birthed the flowers of fruitful hope have done their part, have been visited by bees and birds, by hands and rain, by plucking and pulling and picking to finish their short yet prolific lives feeding and nourishing we humans.

Walking home today along the city streets was a delicious gift. The gentle giant trees lavished me with spectacular carpets of brilliant fall leaves, the invigorating crunch of  their haughty reds, oranges and yellows, tasting a sense of their diva days drawing to a close, as if donning their most brilliant of technicolor coats before the end of their succulent lives.

Autumn is a time of falling away, of letting go and leaning inward. That’s why we call it fall. Leaves fall, ripe fruit falls, the sun sets earlier every day. The expansion of summer’s heady days are behind us and the icy embrace of winter is not too far ahead. The languid ease of the past few months has given way to the urgency of putting gardens to bed, to gather what fruits we can before the impending frost bites into what remains of their life force. It’s the in-between time, the co-mingling of life and death.

Maybe that’s why I adore this season so much. Everything feels more vital, more parting and precious. Where some see fall as a doorway to melancholy, I see it as a precious field of wonder that contains the span of our existence.  The first inhale of life and the seeds it will bear, the planning and planting of our days as children and then adults, moving to the rhythm of life with partners and offspring, work and play, until the fruits of our endeavors are ripe and heavy for harvest and the leaves of our time here start to tatter and fall, swirling on one last remarkable dance of breath as the air and earth bring us back to the ground where we came from.

Working in hospice the field of life is carpeted with the crackle of spent leaves, the dance moves to a slower pace, yet life still surges and each breath contains the summation of all that has come before. Each inhale asks us to witness the wonder of life; each exhale the promise of what is to come.

Autumn

by Rainer Maria Rilke

The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,
as if orchards were dying high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning “no.”

And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all other stars in the loneliness.

We’re all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one. It’s in them all.

And yet there is Someone, whose hands
infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.

Excerpt from Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, copyright 1952, HarperCollins

Comments

  1. Perfect beautiful. Have you seen the ‘Tree of Life’, movie with Brad Pitt ; you are on the same wavelength.

  2. Thanks Fawn. I still need to see that film; very interesting…

  3. “Working in hospice the field of life is carpeted with the crackle of spent leaves”.

    Great writing.

  4. Thank you David. Your words brought a smile to my face.

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