Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning, and under every deep a lower deep opens.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
After a warm and pleasant Fall that lingered long past its usual departure, the trees have at last surrendered just about all their leaves except for the oaks, always the last holdouts. Here and there these stately beings still offer a swath of bronze and mahogany amidst their neighbors gray and brown trunks. The green world had a season of abundance of berries, fruit, and seed. The acorn crop has been heavy, a bonanza for turkeys and squirrels. It’s been true of the maples as well, winged seeds twirling to the ground in countless numbers at summer’s end.
This late afternoon the day after Halloween is a somber one. The morning had enough brightness to entice me out for a walk up the hill past the marshlands and ponds. With most of the leaves down now, once again the outline of the farther hills is visible through the woods. I picked up an acorn at the edge of the road and admired its burnished brown shell, such a sweetly-shaped container of hopeful oak-prospects. The wild apples have been incredibly bountiful as well. The deer beat me to one of the two trees I’d been keeping an eye on waiting patiently for their fruit to ripen. I discovered this yesterday when I paid them a visit, bags in hand, anticipating returning with one filled with tart golden apples and the other with the smaller but just-right-sweet red apples. So it was a lighter load of the reds I toted back down the hill. Blessed with this freely-given abundance, I don’t begrudge sharing it with my four-legged neighbors. For much of November I’ll be enjoying my apple-harvest as daylight hours steadily decrease and the darkness claims more of each day.
All Hallows Eve…Samhain in the Celtic tradition….marks the threshold into the months of the land’s deep stillness and resting. While I was apple gathering yesterday, a few milkweed seeds drifted past in their airy flight. Such a cunningly-designed feathery globe with the possibility of far journeying for each seed. Once settled back to earth and with whatever luck is needed, they will join a myriad of other seeds already tucked into the soil and darkness of necessary gestation time. Next year’s Monarchs that saw a splendid resurgence this season, will have their favored food source awaiting them.
I know this as a “thin time” of the year’s vast slow-circling seasons. For the Celts, these days were honored as a time when the veil between the worlds was thin, when ancestors were remembered and honored, and the recently departed were felt to be within reach if they wished to be. Echoes of this are reflected in what Christian believers call All Souls Day. In this last month I have said farewell to two women dear to me. One was in my life since I was born, a many decades’ long and vibrant connection. The other a lively, lovely companion of the past decade and oh how she enlivened my journeying in both the outer and inner planes. I am grieving their departures from this world, a world both loved fiercely and enjoyed with abandon. As this is Autumn’s thin time, I am hopeful my thoughts of love and gratitude reach through the veil to them, and so perhaps some easing of the grief of their going. And also a certain comfort knowing the seeds we sowed together will continue to gestate, take root, and flourish.
….every end is a beginning, and under every deep a lower deep opens.