If I could choose a season to represent my soul, I would without a doubt choose autumn. There is an inherent passion in this season of color, an earthy beauty that is startling in its intensity. It is the season of paradox, when a riot of color signals death, when halcyon days herald the grey of winter. It is a season of change, and yet it holds a peace I have never found in any other span of the year.
I love the passion in this season; it has a vim akin to that of youth when the world is still filled with ideals and it throbs through the whole earth, running red through the veins of the leaves and burning the faces of the trees crimson with its strength. The sky grows heavy with it and the wind is full of its whispers.
Yet there is a peace to equal the passion, a quietness that comes like the still of dusk and makes the earth seem as if it is listening. The fields grow sere, the sky broods grey. It is the calm of acceptance. Death has come to the earth, and soon the bright leaves will lie in their graves. But the trees fling their last summer joy into a celebration of color. It is as if they have accepted their lot and the joy of their acceptance burgeons into a last grand declaration of beauty. Life and death have met, summer and winter are dancing.
And I’ve decided that this is how I would like to live.
I have a passion and life in me as fiery as the leaves, as strong as the wind. There is such goodness to be crafted in this time, such life to be had if we will only take it. I revel in life; in the striving toward beauty, in the making of friends, in the celebration of music, seasons, feasts and family.
But my body is of earth and like the trees, it is dying. Slowly, to be sure, yet steadily. I am young, but I already sense the rest to be had in all that lies beyond this life. The peace of acceptance is in my heart, a quiet of assurance that when my flesh is gone, my spirit will live on. That the color here is for a season, but the passion and joy will run on into eternity. I find myself at peace.
And so, I would live an autumn life, a life of paradox. I want to embrace all the gypsy restlessness of this season, revel in the beauty that calls so irresistibly to the pilgrim soul in me. I want to live the sort of vivid, crimson and storm passion that points beyond to “joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief” (Tolkien). But I hope that the very tang of that otherness will send souls deep into the equally great mystery of the present moment and its well-living. For the beauty begins here. The celebration happens in the gift of this very good day.
So here is a toast to an autumn life. May we all live it well.