Autumn: Why and Now

This is the first week of fall, and I’m beginning to see the signs. Golden autumn leavesWhen I lived in Europe, the seasons changed dramatically from one day to the next, and they certainly do in other parts of this nation and the world. But in Northern California it’s usually a more subtle change. The night temperature has lowered, although it’s not to freezing yet – at least in the lower Sierra foothills. But some leaves are turning yellow, and we’ve seen our first “V” of Canada Geese in the sky.

Changes come in the autumn of our lives, as well. I wrote a little about seasons in the “Growing as Becoming” chapter of Growing Generous Souls, and the cover photo implies it. For a lot of people, it takes a few years of “making one’s mark” in work and family before they focus more on deeper questions about legacy, values, and meaning. But not always.

Sometimes a significant crisis or loss prompts conscious exploration of the “whys” of life. I loved Richard Rohr’s book Falling Upward. He called the period from that point on “the second half of life,” but admitted that it could come anytime, with the shift in potential life-and-death things (that’s my paraphrase, not his).

Whenever that stage enters, the “why” becomes crucial, as does the “now.” That’s when we may turn to more poetry and prayer, or close relationships, or meditation and walks with our dog. The beauty and giftedness of every moment means everything, as we may nestle into wonder and gratitude. God loves us. In every season. Whether it’s autumn or not.

Betsy Schwarzentraub