Fall. As some may know, it’s my favorite time of year. Our abrupt weather whiplash experience several days ago reminded us of winter, skipping right over fall. Not only was it an unwelcome prelude to the inevitable, it prematurely ended some garden harvests and pushed some plants and shrubs into early dormancy.
But as I looked past the snow that made the mountains beautiful, it did remind me that Mother Nature does have wondrous power. It also reminded me that no matter how one may wish to outwit, ignore, deny or simply dismiss that which we can’t understand, or control, Mother Nature shows us her beauty, softness, stillness, strength and ability to enhance or upend our lives.
In addition to sweater weather, crisp air, apples, pumpkins, cool nights, harvest moon and football, fall usually has me pulling out a few poems or writings that capture some of the nuances and feelings that come with the change from summer to fall. For me, there’s a different feel to the change from summer to autumn than the change from winter to spring. I know we all have our own favorite seasons, and the reasons are as varied as the number of leaves on the trees.
We’re seeing what changing seasons, and all that goes with that phenomenon, can do to our air, landscape and lives. This season brings hurricanes on one side of the country and wildfires on another. We’re reminded, sometimes painfully, that as with all things beauty and change sometimes comes at a great price. This year, the price seems particularly high given our global reminder that viruses, like changing seasons and climate, don’t pay much attention to what we think or believe.
As much as some like to blame others for everything we don’t understand, climate and seasons, like viruses, aren’t red or blue, conservative or liberal or belong to any political party. Their effect is sometimes random, sometimes unexplainable, but usually spread their equal opportunity beauty or devastation at their will, not ours.
Humans can’t harness or control Mother Nature; but our behavior, born from knowledge and science, can possibly mitigate some of the more destructive changes we are seeing around us.
In the meantime, here is one of the poems I enjoy to welcome this change of season. It’s called “Song for Autumn” by Mary Oliver.
“Don’t you imagine the leaves dream now
how comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of the air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees, especially those with
mossy hollows, are beginning to look for
the birds that will come – six, a dozen – to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
stiffens and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its long blue shadows. The wind wags
its many tails. And in the evening
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.”