In this last week of September, as it is often its wont, my corner of the world begins a beautiful journey from summer into autumn. The fact that I have been part of this journey every year for over three decades, does not diminish the beauty of the transition. In fact, with every passing year, I seem to look forward to this transition more and more.
The falling of a single leaf, when witnessed with a cup of tea in hand while sitting on the deck, or in the midst of a nature walk in the reservation, is often an event of great silence. It takes me back to my first autumn in Southwest Virginia, and the surprise and immense joy that I felt when I saw, for the first time, all those trees change color. The oranges, yellows and reds and many more colors in between, seemed to create an aura of special warmth in my first season away from home. Autumn seemed to say to me – I feel and see your great transition, and I am transitioning with you. I will be your companion on your journey.
That was then and this is now. My journey, my transitions continue – and so do hers. Awareness informs me that every moment, every breath, every heartbeat is a transition. The loss of a beloved one, the birth of a new flower, sickness and storms, celebrations and new beginnings. The impermanent nature of life as we know it means that transitions are our constant companions. And yet, there is a certain fabric of permanence on which the needle of life’s transitions creates its embroidered artwork. The colors and the thicknesses of the threads may be vastly different, but so what? Is not Autumn present in all her brilliance for all of us who choose to see?
Just this week, I walked two long walks in two separate parts of the reservation – the river valley and the lagoon – three days apart. The river was shallow enough that I could walk into its middle and look back on each of the banks, and upstream and downstream. When the sun rose high enough above the trees on the cliff side of the valley, it shone its light on all that came in its path – every tree, every changing and falling and fallen leaf, every boulder and rock and piece of broken off shale, every flock of geese that let itself be carried downstream by the gentle streaming of the river, and more.
I observed that all they needed to do to be illumined was to be present to the sun’s light with patience – for the play of light and shadow changes day by day, hour by hour, instant by instant – such is the nature of transition. And what about those who seemed to be in ‘permanent’ darkness? I am sure that, in a different season, when the sun’s angle changes, or they choose to bend ever so slightly towards the sun, they would find luminosity too.
So, if you are like me, and you love and cherish autumn as much as I do, you are already well equipped to be in harmony with life’s transitions. If you are like some, who are in love with the idea of an eternal summer, you may want to consider taking a walk into the beauty of autumn.
Go. Stand in place or walk into the middle of a shallow, softly flowing river. Open your heart and take in a 360 degree view. Did you see any transitions?
P.S. Join us Sunday, September 30 at 9amET in our weekly gathering on Twitter. I will bring some fabric – you bring some colored threads – we will create some transitions. Namaste – @AjmaniK
In the middle of transitions