on Autumn

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” Albert Camus (1913-1960), French author, journalist, philosopher

It is that time of year again. The leaves are turning colors and a crisp chill is in the air. We start to put away the clothes of summer and pull out our warm sweaters and sweatshirts. It is not yet time for a jacket but we know that it soon will be. We know that the time is short and soon we will be shut in our homes to stay warm, only bustling quickly from one building to another as needed. We are cold, and then we are warm again. But not yet. We still have some few precious days left where we will not be cold. I for one will enjoy every last bit.

Every season has its own beauty, but my favorite has always been autumn. I don’t like being hot, but I don’t like being cold either. People seem bustle more together, either for sports games or social gatherings. There is just that little bit of chill that draws us together for warmth, but no inconvenient snow or ice to prevent us from traveling. It’s as if we are hurrying to hold onto that last bit of precious glow of life before the winter stillness sets in. What we have forgotten in the lazy haze of summer we seem to remember when we know the time is short.

Autumn is like most intermediary times in life, a sort of crossroads. When the past gives way to the present, and the present gives way to the future. It forces us to take stock of where we are, and to hold on to that which is most precious. If life was perfect, an eternal summertime, we could easily take for granted those things which we hold most dear. If we never come to the crossroads where we are faced with winter’s cold stillness, how would we be able to keep our lives in perspective? How would we ever learn to appreciate, to hope, and furthermore, to trust?

As a people we have faced times of anguish, of despair, of heartache. We have held each other as our own individual autumns have turned to winter.  Sometimes that is all we can see when we are hurting – the coming snow and the coming chill. Sometime we are completely blind to the bustle of life around us, of those that are still holding us, attempting to keep us warm in autumn’s last glow. It is in these intermediary times of life where we are reminded that all is not lost. It is when we show others not only who we are, but also remind ourselves of what we are made of.  It is when we realize that the harvest consists not only of those seeds planted in soil, but also in ourselves. Autumn is the time when we receive an abundant reminder of life, which if we let it, can carry us through the winter into a hope-filled spring.

“Youth is like spring, an over praised season more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes. Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.” Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist

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