So many Minnesotans I know say their favorite season is fall. The mornings and evenings are crisp, offering respite from the humid, mosquito filled summer days and inviting tea, socks and blankets back into the routine. The days are warm, the shadows are long and the colors are stunning. It is a time of apples, pumpkins and layered clothes.
This fall has been gorgeous, no exception. This year, in part because I am introducing fall to my curious baby boy, I am reveling in it like never before. We go on morning walks to explore, crunching and collecting leaves. I share in his wonder, and notice that fall brings a new perspective. As we are surrounded by tree leaves on fire with dying, I am reminded of the cycle and fragility of life. These leaves, exploding with color before dancing their way down to the ground, invite us to look up. All the way up.
I spent the summer looking up. Simon loves watching planes fly over our house, so we took regular breaks in our playing to look up to the sky. This fall, we’ve shifted our gaze ever so slightly, which has made a big difference. Instead of just looking up, we look all the way up. Straight up, beyond even the planes. Several times over the last few days I have caught myself watching the leaves fall in the wind, and then my eyes keep going to look past them at the sky, straight over my head. My breath catches, and my being fills with the vastness of the universe. All it takes is a moment. I feel so small, in the coolest way possible. I feel aligned with the curious humans over thousands of year who have looked all the way up to wonder after the moon, the stars, the galaxies. Our new discoveries about Mars, instead of limiting the wonder, has grown it.
It’s good for the soul, I think, to spend some time looking to the heavens in wonder. It’s so easy to keep our heads down, focused just on the world we can see. The local place, only what is in front of our faces, becomes our entire universe. I’ve realized that I’ve had my head in this world, my nose to the grindstone, if you will.
I’m grateful to the fall leaves for inviting me to be aware of the cycle of live around me while inviting me to feel small and amazed at the vastness of this place where we dwell. Now, on our morning walks, I remember to take a moment to look up, all the way up, and fill my soul again with awe. I come back to ground level with renewed, refreshed perspective.