The Season of Death and Dreams

AutumnDeath&Dreams

It astonishes me how one season can be both profoundly beautiful and profoundly sad.  When I was ten years old my family moved from a small industrial city to prison housing in a rural farming community.  At the time, my father was the assistant warden of a maximum security prison, and high level staff and their families were expected to live on the grounds.  Although we made the move in late August, for me, my seven years there are frozen in autumn.  Our home, one of four, was set upon a hill.  In back of our house-forest. In front of our house-fields. And if you looked past those fields, you could see a medium security prison looming on the horizon.  It was an isolating and lonely existence, and, no matter how beautiful the landscape was, for a child used to a neighborhood and city kids, it was, well, sad.  In my memory the sky was always gray, the trees always bare and the ground always covered in a blanket of the decomposing remains of what was once vibrant foliage.  What strikes me most, however, is the perennial sound of honking geese.  Prior to our move, I think it is possible that I had never before heard geese much less seen them flying overhead in V formation.  But there, in that place, geese were omnipresent, honking, flying overhead, reminding me that I was a stranger trapped in a place that they were escaping from, if not forever, at least for the impending winter.

As I have grown older, I have learned to truly appreciate and, in many ways, love the fall.  Fall is now a time of beautiful traditions-apple and pumpkin picking, hiking and collecting leaves while watching beams of sunlight shoot through tree branches, already majestic and adorned in gold.  I look to my children to teach me lessons in optimism.  They jump for joy into piles of dead leaves while happily awaiting the first snow to arrive and cover naked branches in crystal that shimmers in the light of the winter moon.

I guess it’s a matter of age and perspective.  It is so easy to allow deep sorrow born from past experience to rob us of the happiness that comes from enjoying the beauty of the life we now lead.  For me, I prefer to march on through dead leaves and enjoy hearing them crunch underfoot as I move on ahead.

Creative Reawakening in Autumn

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It is a strange irony that, as the leaves prepare to fall from their branches and crumble to dust, the world seems to come alive.  Gone, finally, is the lethargy of long hot days. 

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We are moved by autumn’s enchantments.

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The cool air takes on a particular scent unique to the fall.  It is both hearty and sweet, a mix of pine, apples, leaves trampled underfoot and the lingering fragrance of summer flowers. 

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Our spirits stir with the shift of the season.  We are moved by a feeling of  excitment and a sense of foreboding.  Now is the time when our creativity reemerges from the its long summer slumber when frivolity and amusement seemed to overtake and suppress our artistic urges. 

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Now is the time to feel comfortably conflicted.  We cling onto life in the face of impending death.  As we are overwhelmed by the magestic beauty of orange and crimson leaves, we are cognizant of what is yet to come.  As winter closes in upon us, we look to the heavens and we are gifted with a shot of the sun’s glorious rays filtering through golden leaves and capturing fall’s ineffable beauty. 

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And, as we journey onward, we beseech our muses for inspiration so that we may find peace in creating during those long, dark days of winter. 

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