Tag Archives: Autumn

All the Way Up

16 Oct
Photo via Flickr user Paul Bica

Photo via Flickr user Paul Bica

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.

Summer’s End

4 Sep
Photo via Flickr user Dave Heuts

Photo via Flickr user Dave Heuts

The refrain remains the same every year around this time: “Where did summer go?”

“Is it really fall already?”

“September. Wow, summer flew by.”

In the New York Time’s Sunday Review, Tim Kreider writes a beautiful piece on the melancholy that comes at the end of summer. Many of us know this feeling of which he writes:

Part of it of course is just my dread and hatred of back-to-school time, unchanged since childhood. The whole world of work and productivity still seems to me like an unconscionable waste of time; the only parts of life that really matter are the summers, the in-between times — the idle goofing off.

He was planning to go to Iceland this past summer, but he didn’t. And now, at the end of summer, Kreider is reflective of all the things left undone as fall picks up and routine fills the calendar. He did not live the summer he intended to live. Yet it was filled with unexpected loveliness all the same.

Still, the feeling swells from his summer to his life. As he gets older, he comes to peace with the fact that he may not, in fact, live the life he intended:

I suspect that the way I feel now, at summer’s end, is about how I’ll feel at the end of my life, assuming I have time and mind enough to reflect: bewildered by how unexpectedly everything turned out, regretful about all the things I didn’t get around to, clutching the handful of friends and funny stories I’ve amassed, and wondering where it all went. And I’ll probably still be evading the same truth I’m evading now: that the life I ended up with, much as I complain about it, was pretty much the one I chose.

I didn’t take a trip to Iceland this summer, either. I didn’t do much of what I envisioned I would do, but what I did was lovely. It was a beautiful season filled with family time– swimming, going to the farmer’s market, playing, exploring.

I hear the school buses driving by again. There are now only little kids at the neighborhood playground during the day. This time of year, similar to birthdays, anniversaries and New Year’s, may be another instance we feel time strongly. A new school year, the cool breeze, the gearing up for routine again.

It is a time to reflect on the summer plans left undone. To think about what we intended and the beauty that came in its stead. It is a time to embrace and give thanks for the life we ended up with, the life we have chosen.

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