Fall has swooped down and settled across the horizon. The landscape was bathed in color, gorgeous coppery reds and yellows, golds and oranges, but now the veil has dropped. The glorious flowers have succumbed to the cold, and the leaves, in all their brilliance, are floating to the ground and scattering across the countryside. It stole the last of summer, in one cold breath, leaving me feeling exposed and a bit relieved as if I had relinquished a heavy backpack. All summer I was surrounded by flowers and the garden and all their lushness, and in that one final swoop, the calendar changed. I love all seasons, but this year the expansiveness and the length of summer left me spent. Like the flower gardens, laden with their heaviness just before frost, I was ready for change.
Now fall seems to be moving more rapidly. The colors are gone, and winter is nudging my senses. I’m reminded how much I love winter. It’s my favorite, I think. It’s a time when I can move my energy inside, not only within the confines of my home, but inside my heart and my consciousness, pulling myself into my core, like the trees.
I lived in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona for many years, and as the mildness of a southern Arizona winter moved through, I would watch the mountains as they slipped into a soft slumber – where the heart gathered the warmth – leaving the bare branches trembling under the weight of a Mexican jay.
Those mountains, where the peaks reached so close to the heavens…and one could see Mexico and New Mexico and the galaxies…and the heart carried one beyond where the eye could see. Even now, so many miles away, when I reach down deep in need of solace – it is the Chiricahuas that nourish my soul. Their strength rises within me, their wisdom guides me, their heart holds me.
The memory of these mountains still replenishes my creative side when everyday life begins to take its toll. I run to them, parched. The trail leads me through the dry creek bed. I jump from stone to stone, those same stones that lifted me across the water in the summer. The ones that were so wet and slippery…with the water cutting its new channel through the creek as it came rushing down the mountainside, flowing through my mind. Still, the memory of the early morning mist and the beauty of a dawn awakening stir a more tender side of me, and nourish me.
I remember a Whitetail buck as he stood off in the trees. So still, not a breath, his antlers weaving in among the bare branches. I knew he was there. I saw him, but yet I wondered – was he really there? I learned from these mountains to respect the subtle changes through the years, and the changes within myself and I give thanks for how they embraced me, and comforted me, and taught me to see. Really ‘see.’ How they opened my heart to change and acceptance.
As the seasons move through us, and with the holidays rapidly approaching, my wish is for each to embody the meaning of peace, acceptance, and understanding for all.