Autumn leaves

Ever since I moved to Holland, I have become disenchanted with autumn. Growing up in New England, autumn meant bright, fiery colors against a blue sky. Here, the leaves simply fall to the ground, heavy- laden with grey, cold rain. But this year, we’ve been treated to a blazing autumn and it has triggered musings about this very special season.

After the harvest abundance of the late summer, autumn is the time that trees and plants pull their energy back and down into their roots. And, because they have pulled their energy back, they let go their leaves. They no longer need the leaves, they’re going into hibernation.

For me, it’s also the season to pull back, out of the active summer. To go inside myself and reflect on the past year: the new impulses that came with spring, the fruits of the summer. What do I need to let go? What habits and thoughts no longer serve me? Autumn is a chance to rest and renew, a chance to simplify, to pare life down to only that which is essential. To let go of everything that clutters our lives and creates confusion. So that the bare branches of who we really are stand out in all their stark beauty. Waiting for new impulses and growth in the spring.

And, as the days grow shorter and colder and the light grows dimmer, we start creating light and warmth of our own. A few days ago, the Hindu celebration of Diwali took place, the festival celebrating the triumph of light over dark. Autumn brings us the light of warm fires blazing in the dark, warming and comforting us. Just as the autumn leaves give us one final blaze of warm, bright colors, before they flutter to the ground.

I wish you warm, bright, comforting fires. But most of all, I wish you the ability to let go that which no longer serves you, to simplify, rest, and renew.

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