Sunday, August 26, 2012

the fireflies are dead and gone

The whirling circle of the sacred year//returns me to the place that we began.

I am obsessed--but obsessed-- with years. Years are elegant and graceful units of time.
The rhythm of the year, the morphing seasons--the harmony between them is so alluring and beautiful to me.
Each turn of the year brings with it rituals and holidays. Some of the holidays are holy days, such as Christmas and Easter--days that bless time, that make our observance of the passage of time something sacred. But each season brings with it less holy rituals, that are part of a liturgy of nature. Yesterday, I found the first scarlet leaves of fall, flecked with gold. I ran passed them, but then turned back around and picked them up again. Autumn. Autumn is my favorite of all the seasons. Autumn is the most nostalgic season, it's the season of change. It's the season of letting go and starting again, more so than spring. Spring is about merging from the pain and sorrow of winter. Winter is always painful and sorrowful and difficult. It just is. It's a fact of life. I don't know if the season of winter begets the feeling of winter, or vice versa, but there's going to be at least one dreary day in November where you sluggishly drag yourself through a grey, sleety day, and your mood matches the oh-so-Novemberish weather all the time. Although I may not see the beauty in that on a rainy day in November, I think it's absolutely beautiful how intricately tied up our emotions and souls are by the world around us. There's a simple, pure delight in being a physical creature.

Summer is always a bizarre season. I never know quite what to make of it. I've never been particularly fond of summer. Summer means heat and heat means sweating. I hate sweating--it's one of the most unpleasant experiences of the human condition. Some people talk romantically of the joy of a good sweat, produced by hard work or a long run. Fun fact about cold weather: if you go on a long run on a crisp, snowy December day, you will still feel your heart pounding in that delicious way that says: "You are physically exerting yourself. Here are some endorphins." But, and here's the best part: you won't feel any sweat (you'll have frostbite instead but oh well, no one said life was a rose garden).

And there's this awful thing about the American school system is that it has designated summer as a time of breaks. A time where you just sort of take a break from everything, because, well, it's summer.
But this summer wasn't a break. It was a barreling forward into a brave new world of a brave new autumn.

As I picked up the first leaves of autumn, I thought back to the first leaves of autumn last year. And even though the leaves seem the same, and the season seems the same, but I am so different. Sometimes I look back and don't even recognize the rootless young woman that stood on the verge of a new year. That's why we have seasons--to show us in the exterior world the change that transforms our interior world. That rhythm: the harmony and unity of constancy and change. The rhythm of the seasons highlights the constancy and change occurring in our own hearts.

My house says to me, "Do not leave me, for here dwells your past."//And the road says to me, "Come and follow me, for I am your future."

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