Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Autumn: Death is Life
My death waits there among the leaves
In magicians' mysterious sleeves
Rabbits and dogs and the passing time
My death waits there among the flowers
Where the blackest shadow, blackest shadow cowers
Let's pick lilacs for the passing time
My death waits there in a double bed
Sails of oblivion at my head
So pull up the sheets against the passing time
~ Jacques Brel
Leaves are falling and blowing across the streets and lawns as cool winds whip through my suburban landscape. Gone are the long evenings of slow twilight. Gone are the slow and relaxed gaits of movement. There is an urgency to get through the more turbulent atmosphere and arrive more purposefully at a destination now. The darkness falls quicker and returns slower. The mud and buds of spring time renewal are far away, both in the past and future. Forgotten and not yet imagined. The reality is currently stressing the cold and the process of going dormant. There will be a long stretch of trying to hold on to the promise of renewal ahead of us.
The chill in the air that appears this time of year is incrementally more chilling with each passing year. We feel the slow transition from summer to autumn as becoming less tangential to our own life's cycle. Yet there is a familiar assurance and reassurance that greets us in the annual dying off. We have been through it so many times before that we can feel comfortable knowing the many intricate variations of what we can expect of winter in these temperate latitudes. Imagine the shock if we had never been through a winter before.
The shorter days can be depressing. The cold wind can be painful to endure. The sense of impending death can be a source of dread. Then comes the revelation of our long experience: There can be no renewal without this dying off. There can be no promise without this finality. There is a reason to this season.