Everything will fall away with time. Each year, autumn gives us a small taste of this eternal truth. Autumn is profoundly beautiful in its own way.
All the leaves are brown? Check.
And the sky is grey? Affirmative.
Summer with all its warmth and light was here. Now let it fall away.
Things have felt more than a little Mamas & the Papas* these past few days. And it is not even as yet such a winter’s day. Autumn has set up shop in a manner most unambiguous. Summer 2021 in the UK barely felt like it got going. It underperformed. A slight rally at the end with an attempt at some sunny days in late September. Then it seemed to stop on a dime. The first morning of October was as oppressively dark and damp as they come.
I am by no means a summer person, but even I feel robbed of summer this year. It can be hard to keep the spirits up when even the promise of summer is so abruptly snatched away. Just as summer departed, the omnicrisis facing the UK continued (and continues) to intensify, with warnings of a “winter of discontent” feeling significantly more plausible than normal. You could well be forgiven for starting October with a feeling akin to the “damp, drizzly November in my soul” described on the first page of Melville’s Moby-Dick.
The colour and the life seemed to drain out of the world overnight. But is this really such a bad thing? There is beauty everywhere in the arrival of autumn. Autumn transforms the world around us. The leaves turn from greens to wonderful shades of red, brown and orange that never have and never will lose their capacity to delight and to surprise. The air freshens. The cold wind awakens the autumn leaves for their wild dance through the air in a final gesture of life and motion before they make their graceful, curving drift to the ground. Things fall away.
Fundamental to nature’s cycle of growth, renewal and rebirth is that things must and will wither and fall away. It will happen with or without your consent. Whether or not you accept this is entirely up to you. A fundamental part of your own life is how you come to terms with the inescapable fact that all shall fall away.
There is beauty in every stage of life. Even in how it falls away. How do you allow yourself to feel as it falls away?
Cherish and appreciate the people and things that you love now. Cherish the times when life feels fleetingly beautiful and perfect as they happen. Everything will fall away with time. Autumn is a tiny microcosm of this. Autumn is profoundly beautiful in its own way.
Remember always that all this is temporary, that the light and the warmth will return soon enough. Their reappearance will be all the sweeter for the memory of how it felt when their warmth and light dropped out of your world. The cold and the darkness, too, will fall away.
Everything will change. The concerns of the moment will fall away, as surely as the autumn leaves will dance their way groundwards.
Now let it fall away.
* As I’m sure you know full well already, I am borrowing here from the lyrics of California Dreamin’, the immortal song from the Mamas and the Papas.
- Japanese Maple via Wikimedia Commons.
- Autumn by Yamakawa Shūhō Honolulu Museum of Art 27481 via Wikimedia Commons.
- Dance of Autumn Leaves-by Suzuki Harunobu-Tokyo National Museum via Wikimedia Commons.