It has been a busy month. September always seems to mean racing to prepare life for winter. Of course we could do some of these things before we HAVE to do them, but it doesn’t seem to happen that way, year after year. So we fly around in September getting fire wood cut and stacked, filling fuel tanks, mowing the grass a few more times, winterizing motors, cleaning the chimney…..the list is long, and usually expensive. Things feel really hard, tempers are short, work days seem long and sometimes it feels like a hopeless cause to try to change anything at all. But here we are on the first day of autumn, and the list is getting done. We have firewood stacked, the septic is pumped, the furnace is tuned up, and we still have funds to the other things we need to do, even if we won’t be going on any European vacations anytime soon.
Autumn is a paradox. The leaves are changing, the harvest is coming in and the warmer temperatures this year mean the blackberries are still putting new blossoms on their brambles. There is vibrant tree color alongside the withering of the annuals I planted in the spring. There is the fresh possibility of a new school year alongside the mourning of summer’s sense of freedom. There is hope for a late freeze alongside a yearning for the day the temperature drops far enough to bring many kinds of garden work (and allergies) to a halt. We feel like we will never have enough, yet we always have more than we need.
There are people standing up to protect the Missouri River watershed one state over, and nations of indigenous people are coming together in droves while black lives are still being lost at the hands of police. Peaceful demonstrations and ceremonies to protect the earth’s gifts are being performed while wars continue over issues that most people won’t ever understand, including those fighting the battles. Refugees try to find a new land to call home while others try to decide which cruise to go on next. Fires burn in California while floods wash through towns in the Midwest. Life on this planet, it seems, is a paradox.
But as we all move through the days, and the season turns, we can continue to use the contradictions and the messes and the tragic to come together in ways that make sense. We can donate our time and energy to the causes, we can speak the truths that we see played out over and over again, and we can keep from being silent about the things that matter. We can choose peace, and we can use that which is passing away to nourish what is being born. Even if we can’t tell what it will be, or how on earth we will possibly get there.
As the season changes, we learn to adapt.
― Lailah Gifty Akita
It’s been a busy month. Autumn, here we go.