Once a week we take Harry the dog to the park for a woodland walk. Other walks consist of speed for exercise but the woodland walk is always my partner Pat and I strolling while Harry gets a good run around. As the year has progressed we’ve watched the walk change colour. As summer has turned to autumn the leaves have been falling. Gold and browns of different shades laying all around. That wonderful sound of crackling leaves under foot confirms that the seasons have turned and the year is growing old.
How many autumns have I experienced? Why was today so different?
As Harry jogged ahead, my eyes took in a new colour on the ground. Pat noticed it too and said “Sham, have you noticed? Look at the ground. Red leaves! Isn’t it beautiful?”
I verbally agreed in some kind of drab fashion but I was already absorbed in it. The path and surrounding area was so strikingly majestic and yet the feeling it imposed on me was not one of cold dignified alienation but one of such an embracing warmth that I won’t deny I considered scooping up an armful to take home.
Autumn can be such a heavy time when surrounded by the end of the annual glow of summer and trees become bare and enfolded in an invisible solitude. The dying of the beauty we adored in the warm hazy months of the mid-year can easily bring to the heart a desire to die with it, not in a physical sense but in the way we close ourselves in around the warmth of radiators and fires, making the outside world a mental wilderness during it’s time of re-energising.
Those red leaves connected to me. They told me of life. They reminded me that colour is superficial and unimportant and that autumn sings of a cycle. Nature is not dying, she is merely going to sleep, wrapping herself in her coat of brown and gold and red to recharge her batteries ready for the bursting forth of spring. The image is no different than one of me snuggling under the duvet to unwind, calming the events of the day and sleeping so that I’m ready for the day to come.
Although the ‘day’ of the year moves slower than my own cycle of re-energising, it is just as beautiful and peaceful and I viewed its peaceful enfolding today.
I can now look forward to the vigour of awakening on that woodland walk. The sudden burst of nature’s morning is only a sleep away.
What a wonderful world we live in, if only we paid more attention to the beauty in which we live.
My trust in the artistic stroke of the Divine Spirit is ever renewed.