A few short weeks ago (last week? the week before?) the woods vibrated with rich colors of orange, red, yellow. Bright vivid leaves surrounded, encompassed, danced on autumn breezes.
A few short weeks ago the beauty of blazing intensity took your breath away. You wanted the colors to remain this rich, this amazing, forever and a day.
Nothing stays the same, does it, dear reader?
One day we’re filled with color, and the next day we’re down to bare bones, the raw essence of our world.
Trees are made of bone and muscle reaching for the sun. In tree-language we call them trunks and branches, twigs and leaves.
They’re all reaching upward to the heavens, roots interlaced in earth’s deep rich soil, making sure the faraway branches don’t fly upward to join hummingbirds and butterflies and honking geese aiming south.
I love the bones of trees.
They speak a simple language of blowing in the wind, of clicking against one another, of singing deep bone songs like bark-hewed husky hymns.
In late October and early November the woods feel surreal as colors disappear (especially on a gray snow-spitting afternoon) and there we have it, once again, that quality of simplicity and revelation.
It’s not spooky; really it isn’t.
It’s only spooky if we’ve read too many Halloween stories or glimpsed witches perched on branches under full moons in our dreams.
OK, I lied about it not being spooky. There is an ambiance–just sometimes–the way late autumn in the woods retrieves an aching nostalgia from childhood. You smell long-ago bonfires. If you’re lucky, you might sense a doorway opening between worlds, the unknown reaching in its bony fingers to–well–
There is a reason we celebrate Halloween and the Day of the Dead right now.
Go outside and ask the bare tree branches, if you dare.
This changing of seasons opens us up beyond the frivolities of the harvest. We’re gluttons with orange baked pumpkin and squash, crispy red apples and deep red beets. We’ve celebrated our gardens until lettuce grew out of our ears.
Now we move toward a leanness of season which reveals something deeper.
Our very essence moves closer to consciousness in the next snow-drifted months.
We learn the gifts of stripped-down, bare attention.
No wonder Native Americans told certain stories only in winter time. As the leaves fall of trees–as the masks drop–we start to truly hear what we’re meant to hear.
We don’t cover ourselves up with frivolous greenery.
Listen, my friend. Listen deeply in the upcoming months.
I wish us honesty with ourselves and others in the upcoming season. May we not be afraid to truly look what reveals itself beneath our beautiful leaves, our halo of sun, our shining colors.
What exists after the leaves fall off is–simply intricately beautiful.
Don’t be afraid. What’s revealed is a magic which surpasses Halloween candy, toothy jack-o-lanterns, costumed glory, scary ghosts.
What’s revealed is everything we’ve hidden from ourselves when we were covered with green abundance, leaf-veins dancing in the summer’s breeze.