Autumn: A Time to Reflect

Cheryl Terrace by Cheryl Terrace | September 28th, 2010 | No Comments
topic: Personal Growth

Fall foliageSeptember,
the garden has cooled,
and with it my possessiveness

— Robert Finch

My mom’s house burned down a few weeks ago. She lost everything. Ironically, my siblings and I had been trying to get her to consider moving since my dad died, three years ago to the month. She was living in a too-isolated area (in northern Louisiana) and could no longer keep up the two-acre property. Florence was reluctant to let go of all her ‘memories.’ She is a ‘collector,’ as are so many of us.

Autumn has been associated with melancholy in many poems, with the warmth of summer waning, and the chill of winter on the horizon. We turn inward, both physically and mentally. Rainer Maria Rilke, a German poet, expresses such sentiments in one of his most famous poems, Herbsttag (Autumn Day):

Who now has no house, will not build one (anymore). Who now is alone, will remain so for long, will wake, and read, and write long letters, and back and forth on the boulevards, will restlessly wander, while the leaves blow.

Autumn is a time of change, and a good time to ‘come home,’ to think about the meaning of home in its various aspects and cultivate a sacred space of your own. Like it or not, everything changes. Why not embrace those inevitable forces and be proactive in redefining the things (physically and metaphorically) you hold near and dear? Harvest your thoughts and deeds carefully, knowing that all the superfluous (and showy) ‘blossoms’ can be released. It is a time to dig deeper into the meaning of clipping away at old growth, to turn the soil over, and to prepare for a long rest with only the most beneficial seeds.

As the first true autumn month, September’s birthstone is the sapphire; the meaning is clear thinking. The birth flowers for September are the forget-me-not, morning glory and aster (all powerful in their ancient yet contemporary symbolism).

As for Florence, she is blossoming in her new digs. With a new home in the same town as my brother (and his two teenage daughters to keep her busy), and many new friends to keep her socially engaged, her life has taken on a wonderful new perspective.

Warm Home Blessings to you!


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