Autumnal Dance of Life & Death

When we watch the leaves change colour and flutter to the ground, they seem to die, but the tree does not.

The colour change is the ‘death’ of chlorophyll, removing the living green that feeds us all, and revealing other colours that were there, at least chemically, all along.

I once had a colleague raised in Florida ask me if celebrating the autumn leaves wasn’t  rather morbid. After all, we hardly admire other forms of aging and decline.

But I’ve never seen the fall season as morbid or gloomy. Deciduous trees have such a clearly cyclical life. They define the seasons with their changes.

True, our autumn holy days are infused with remembrance, gratitude and atonement. It is wise to prepare for the season’s cycle, insure the stocking of food and fuel for the cold dark to come. Enjoy the harvest, but keep an eye on the big picture.

Today a flock of blackbirds at least 1,000 strong came down in the yard, and when startled, flew in streaming waves, not far off the ground, through the radiant yellow and rust and red leaves, mauve grey trunks, golden grasses and blue, blue sky. It was so dizzying, these moving waves of birds!

They are on the move, feeding and flocking as they move south to wintering grounds.

May we all roll with the changes.

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