I’ve been reviewing the poem “Autumn Movement” by Carl Sandburg and watching Fall beauty come and go and realizing the harder lesson of this season. The easy thing Fall teaches is to be grateful for what we have and are. We are surrounded by bushels of apples and piles of pumpkins, strings of braided garlic pulled last July and winter squash on shelves in the basement, not to mention the more precious gifts: family and friends. This is the season of thanks giving. It is the time of year we set things by, and then sit a spell to rest and celebrate the plenty. We can relax a moment in the fullness of what we have been provided, and even take a minute or an hour to give a portion of the excess to whoever doesn’t have enough. This sense of satisfaction and completion, fullness and sharing is the first lesson Autumn teaches any who encounters it: Autumn 101: Basic Celebration of Plenty.
This year, I find myself unwittingly enrolled in Autumn 201: Letting Go of What You’d Like to Keep. With Sandburg, I’m having to recognize that “no beautiful thing lasts.” With the poet, I am learning to cry at its loss, and to cry at my wanting to hold on to what is beautiful, at what I want to keep even if it’s time to let it go. All my life I have been focused on the holding and the satisfaction. Now I’m thinking about the no-longer-holding part, the loss of all this beauty, from the garden and the leaves, to my comfort, to maybe even one of my dear ones (though thankfully I haven’t had to learn that lesson, yet). I’m also trying to gain the wisdom that “new, beautiful, things come,” many even brought by the same force that took the original things away in the first place.
Dear God, make me thankful for abundance yet willing to give it up. Help me trust the new, beautiful things I can’t see yet, but are just around the corner. Amen