Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn Equinox


Every year, as September nears its end, my soul exhales. And earth, it seems, becomes the great inhale. Of all the shifts in the wheel of the year, this one is my favorite. Slower than the others, and more spacious. Summer into autumn. One day you feel it- that crispness on the breeze that wasn't there the day before. And each day it becomes a little more noticeable. And then you catch the smell. The smell of autumn- that I have no idea how to describe. But it's there, and it feels like home.

There are those days where nothing seems to make sense because it's still so hot and sunny in the afternoon, and you're sweating just as much as you did all summer. But evening comes, and perhaps there's that first night you wear your wool socks. And it's back and forth like this, until the coolness creeps farther into the day, lingers a little longer. Equinox comes, and to me that means that soon enough I will be eating butternut squash soup and making pumpkin butter. The kitchen will smell like cinnamon and nutmeg, and warm mugs of tea will have a different significance.

This is also a time of reflection for me. My soul feels more solitude in autumn. Death a little closer. There's more space for me to exist. And more for me to let go. The leaves inspire me. The way they don't fight it. I can savor the transient nature of every moment- of my life. That nothing stays the same is more tangible this time of year. We know the trees will soon be bare. Somehow, my soul finds its way to bare as well.

On the way there, though, is the space of harvest and gratitude. The abundance of life that is the karma of spring and summer. We reap the fruits now. We see how far we've come, assess what we've learned. Find the gratitude there. Celebrate. Celebrate ourselves and our lives and each other.

I've written several dozen poems about autumn over the years. Tonight I'll be reading one at a harvest celebration. I thought I'd share a couple of them here.
The first, from years ago. The second, what I'll read tonight. Blessed equinox everyone.

***
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Autumn flares inside me
like the elegance of death-
a cold and sunny burning,
bringing passion back to breath.
The crispness of crescendo
in the auburn flooded trees
is a pain that dances always
on the flavor of the breeze.
If music had a color,
then autumn it would be.
If sunlight has a lover,
it's the fire in the trees.
The loneliness of falling
is the sharp of autumn air,
and the vibrancy of changing
is the beauty that it bares.
*** 
-->
The air turns-
the sun suddenly crisp
with ripening.

We move quietly
to pluck a moment from a branch.

The earth inhales,
and cloaks herself in autumn.

Life is closer to empty
now that the fields are bare-
the fruit preserved.

The leaves surrender
to time
with such colorful grace,

and green steps tenderly
aside to make room
for gray.

The birds fly south
so winter can have its silence.

There's a blossoming
in death,
not downward
or upward,

but opening

and space.

***

1 comment:

Taryn Kae Wilson said...

Leslie,
This is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Love, Taryn