It's a quiet light that turns green to red, shamrock to yellow, lime to gold. It's so quiet you can't even hear it all summer long, working on the leaves like a Mother, helping them grow to their fullest potential and then some. For when they turn color and fall they are still leaves, still strong. They give the Earth work for the winter. They hear the roots of the trees calling and want to have a hand in the quiet work, too.
Don't be fooled by what feels like death all around. Don't drown yourself too deeply in the loss taking place with each wave of wind and rain. Or do. And that's something, too. But trust that the leaves have a purpose even in their free fall. It's a quiet work they must tend to now.
Lately, I am so enchanted by autumn. So taken by its willingness to shed and surrender that I can't help but wonder if I'm supposed to join in the quiet work, too.
What would that look like? What would it feel like to close the windows and doors to my soul and wait and listen? What would it mean to let the forest floor of my heart soften and accumulate in all its richness until I have no choice but to take the nourishment it offers me, like the roots of the trees generating nutrients for the whole tree, all winter long?
Sometimes it's not so simple as that. Sometimes it is much harder to trust the forest floor of your heart and receive.
And that's when I look to the leaves. For they are so fragile. Truly. Grind one too greedily between your fingers and you'll have shreds of something resembling foliage. You must hold the leaf and let it breath in your hand. Sure, you can find those resilient enough for pressing. But sometimes those leave something to be desired, don't they?
It's the leaves with a curl or a mark that leaves them unpressable that make the fullest impression on me. The wet ones. The heavy ones. The ones that are so thick that even when you step on them they bounce back.
I listen to the leaves. I trust the quiet light that made them colorful.
If there is one gift I am feeling most this autumn from walking in the woods and watching leaves fall it is this: We are tender beings. We are fragile. Treat yourself and others with this regard for fragility, knowing it's in our vulnerable places that we are the strongest, most resilient.
Writing this reminds me of two things I heard this weekend as my husband and I decided which movie to watch. First, a question from the poet Hafiz: "What happens when your soul wakes up in this world?" And second, some advice from Liam Neeson in a movie, I can't remember it now, for some hero fighting on behalf of the Gods against evil forces. The hero says he is not a God and therefore weaker than the evil forces. And Liam says something like, "You will find it is better to be half human and half God as a warrior. You are stronger than the rest."
Fragility and strength, brother and sister of the same quiet light.