are many wonderful lessons that we can learn from autumn
and the turning of the season. It's heartening for
me to see just how many people see autumn as their
favorite season, for it's a season of change, of peace, of
conversion, and of hope. In its falling leaves and
dying flowers and plants and the disappearance of the
frogs and insects and animals that keep us company during
the summer we can see the greatest hope, the greatest
trust, and the greatest faith of all.
this: you've spent vast amounts of time making a
tree. The leaves are beautiful, perfectly shaped and a
lovely shade of green. Every time that you look at your
creation, you feel a surge of pride and accomplishment, and it's
one of your favorite things in the world. Then someone
comes up to you and tells you that you have to make your tree
lose all of its leaves, and you have to put the trunk through an
ordeal of cold and severe weather that will last several months,
and the tree may not make it through. How would you
feel? Would you be able to let go of your creation easily,
exposing it to the elements and the threat of time?
what happens in our world every year. Nature knows that in
order to maintain its vitality, it must go through austere
periods, periods when it gets by with a bare minimum of
everything, when its normal riches aren't on display for the
world to see.
Every autumn, it must "lose" the
beauty that it has put so much effort into creating and
becoming, and it must spend time lying dormant, waiting for the
time to come when it can once more burst forth in its splendor.
reminds me of my own life, and my own need to simplify that I
feel very strongly from time to time. If I heed those
times when they come to me, I find that eventually, I end up
much richer, if not in a financial sense, then in a personal
sense, a spiritual sense.
autumn isn't a choice. Broken relationships, job layoffs,
the death of loved ones, and many other things can push us into
a period in which it seems as if we're losing everything.
But we aren't losing anything, for nothing on this planet really
is ours. Instead, we're being pushed into a winter in
which we need to lay low for a while, fulfilling our
responsibilities and obligations, but realizing all the time
that spring is right around the corner, just waiting for us to
be ready for it.
can last a very long time, and we often get tired of the cold
weather if it extends itself too far into what's supposed to be
the spring. But spring always does come.
tells the glorious maple tree that it's time to shed its leaves,
the maple tree does so, and as a result of the winter for which
it's preparing itself, it's able to give forth the sap that
gives us maple syrup. It doesn't spend time arguing that
it needs the leaves for the photosynthesis that keeps it
alive. It trusts that even though it's letting go of a
very important part of itself, that part will return and be even
stronger and more beautiful when spring returns.
tells us that it's time for change, that we lost the job that we
just lost for a reason, then it's time to shed that part of
ourselves that we identified with the job and move on.
When a relationship ends, it's time for us to shed the part of
ourselves that we identified with that relationship and move on
so that we can find the rebirth of spring--with new leaves and
new flowers--somewhere in our future. Most importantly, we
need to be ready for that spring when it appears, and we cannot
ready ourselves by holding on to parts of our past that we need
to let go of.
are full of cycles, possibly even more than those of
nature. We go through chapters in our emotional,
spiritual, intellectual, and other types of development.
But we have to let chapters end if we're to move on to the next
chapter, and we have to let seasons run their course if the next
season is to come on time. Spring can't make its way into
our worlds if we're still trying desperately to hold on to the