Living with Courage
There is no getting around it, a new season is here. The Fall equinox of the Northern Hemisphere takes place on September 22nd. This marks the moment when the day and the night are exactly 12 hours long. The Old Farmer’s Almanac says that this is the moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator going southward, with the sun rising exactly due east and setting exactly due west. The symmetry and balance of light and dark offer us a unique opportunity to seek equilibrium in our lives through reflection.
Autumn advances rapidly, bursts open in full color, and it is easy to be drawn into the surface of things rather than think about what is going on down below. And so, if we look more deeply, we can see the many possibilities being planted to bear fruit in some season yet to come.
My colleague and teacher, Parker Palmer looks to the seasons for balancing the human spirit. He writes:
“Autumn is a season of exhilarating beauty. It’s also a season of steady decline and, for some of us, deepening melancholy. The days become shorter and colder, the trees shed their glory, and summer’s abundance starts to decay…”
Palmer sees a balance of opposites in autumn. For many “diminishment and beauty, darkness and light, death and life” are stark contrasts. But Palmer believes that the visible world around us leads us to “a great truth concealed in plain sight.” After the leaves have their moment all ablaze with color and fall away, it is underneath the blanket of brown where we find the seeds for next season. Fall is when nature plants her seeds.
My hope is that in this season of harvest and ever-dimming light, we may be called inward. As the chlorophyll breaks down in the fibers of the great oak and supple maple leaves, we might carve out time to reflect on the “seed of the true self.”
Ask yourself this:
In practical terms, these questions lean us toward autobiographical reflection that we can share in a journal or meditation, and perhaps later with a trusted friend or life partner. These early stories reveal something about who we were when we set out in life. By rediscovering or uncovering our original passions, we make space in today to uncover and reclaim them. May this new season turn us toward equilibrium and balance, where we might see the seeds of possibility taking root.