Autumn’s Perennial Gift To Us All

rvw octsnow2There is a fierce wind blowing outside, howling and whistling through the paper-thin lines of space here and there, making music out of something I cannot see. Our lawn is coated with the remnants of autumn, a patchwork quilt of dying hues that shift in shape by that same, invisible wind.

It is a scene that I have witnessed nearly 50 times, and yet every autumn brings a fresh feel of nostalgia, a paradoxical longing for something that never left me.

The cooler air and melancholy colors stir the familiar scents of home cooking, after-hours campfires, and heartfelt embraces between loved ones. It is the season of preparation for a long winter ahead, and we share a space of common spirituality of seeing illumination in the lack of light, the faith in what we cannot see, the feel for unity that seems to fill us a little more this time of year.

We are so busy. We are bombarded by political pushes, rallies of righteousness, and everything in between. We are told what to think, who to believe, what to feel, who to follow. But we didn’t ask for any of it. We are being solicited to do, be, have, and want like never before. There is great pressure to keep up, keep scrolling, keep checking so that we don’t miss the possible posts of importance that seem to weave their way between the fodder that keeps our focus away from —

Well, away from the fierce wind blowing outside, the remnants of autumn swirling a final dance of beauty, the whistling reminders of an energy present, though unseen.

Away from the nostalgia that is already within us. Away from the scents and sounds of life and nature that have never left our side, have never scrolled a suggestion to do this, be that.

Away from the very things we grew up with and will, one day, return to.

Away from all that is at the core of our energy, our life-source, our existence.

It is enough to be on our way without the push and pull, the shouting and the ‘suading.

When we let go and step outside, we allow ourselves to step inward, as well.

In the dark of autumn is the light of familiar love.

In the fierceness of the wind is the calm of what is to come.

In the chill of the air is the warmth of unity.

Find the strength to let go of the scroll and embrace the warm, genuine feel of Autumn’s approach as it prepares us all for a long, lovely winter ahead.

We have been here before, and we know our way. Let’s stay the course, true and pure, as we prepare for enlightenment and love.

Baltimore Beauty in Autumn

Last Sunday, I was fortunate enough to drive along Mt. Carmel Road in northern Baltimore County. The stretch from Falls Road to York Road is one of the most meditative and breathtaking rides close to home. When I looked out my window and saw this view, I had to pull over to really enjoy its natural beauty. I think the turkey vulture in the sky (although I would love to romanticize it as a soaring eagle, but I won’t) adds to the whole concept of perspective, and viewing our lives in different, unique ways.

Imagine that eye from the sky appreciating Baltimore’s patchwork quilt of autumn reds, yellows, oranges. I believe that my only fear would be to remind myself to breathe every now and then. Surely, I would be too swept away to do much of anything else but appreciate its natural beauty.DSC_0080


Contradiction: The First Days of November

photo: rus vanwestervelt, october 29, 2011, glyndon, md

The snow last weekend that just barely touched us in Baltimore but devastated the New England region was the best and most timely contradiction for me in all ways. Yesterday, over at Maryland Voices, our True Tuesdays prompt focused on Contradiction and the opportunities we are suddenly presented when such situations arise. What do you do when something goes against your routine, defies your everyday expectation?

The contrast existing between the old and brilliant autumnal leaves against the virgin white snow allowed me to get off this annual surge of creativity, just long enough to really appreciate what this time of year means to me.

Historically, this has been my most creative period, whether that be with a camera or a pen in hand. The touch of golden melancholy is just strong enough within me to stir the muse in wondrous ways, and I almost always emerge in December with a batch of pre-polished creativity that was as intense as it was joyful to make.

Seeing the reds and yellows sprinkled with white only strengthened that surge in me to write and create. But it was because I stopped and took the time to absorb it, let it play around inside a bit, work its most unusual magic in this most magical season.

We need to do more of this, this slowing down and taking the time to absorb the existing beauty around us. Our trains move too fast through this life, a shortened ride for many it seems these days, and I can only beg you enough to realize the joys and pleasures that await simply by slowing down, even just a little.

These contradictions in our lives allow us the chance to do exactly this. They are the hiccups that make us catch our breath, focus for a moment on something we did not expect, ponder a little color and splash of virgin white to spin the wheels in the other direction and make us see that we don’t need to wait until the end of the journey to realize glory and beauty.

It’s here right now, all around us, all the time.