Before checking the calendar, I just sensed a need for putting things away. Conserving energy, getting things in order. The Autumnal Equinox is here and once again the nights will dominate the clock. It's a beautiful time of year all over here in the Northern hemisphere and nature's relentless reminders of impermanence are all around us.
I've been through the maple leaves just once when they were full of fire light, but I'm a NorCal boy and as many of you may be hip to - this is our beach weather. Growing up on the coast with lots of dirt roads, surfing was about all we had. And those long summer days were usually full of fog and flat water. Then September/October rolls around when you have to go back to school and guess what? It clears up. Sunshiny days, south swells start rolling in AND the days are getting shorter? One must have priorities, you see... grades suffered and truancy soared for this kid around this time of year.
Things have shifted but it seems a similar cycle is in my psyche. Holidays and Winters can be slow for building contractors like me, so Spring and Summers are time to run full throttle. After three decades at it, though, it feels like the engines are winding down into a cool idle a little earlier each year.
Time for Reflection.
In many ways, the fall brings potent opportunities for reflective awareness and contemplation.
After the harvest, we can look back across the growing season and determine how we were successful or learned lessons. We take mental notes or document our discoveries for next season, even with some degree of accepting the unforeseeable variations of weather to come.
Rehash and rehearse, reflect and prepare. The mind is always at work doing these things.
Good for you, mind. Meanwhile the world goes on.
This October marks our first full year as the Soma Dharma Sangha.
As I look back across the year, I too see successes and lessons.
More than anything I see the fruit of our efforts.
And it's more beautiful than I would have imagined.
We've grown something really special here together.
This Poem from Mary Oliver called Wild Geese is one of my very favorite combinations of words.
Mary left this world in January of this year, she was 83
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.