Autumn’s Guidance for the Grieving Heart
I am the season that best empathizes with your loss. I am known as the season of harvest abundance and beauty, but the hint of loss is ever present as my summer breeze cools, tree leaves die, and my days shorten. More than any season my forfeiture is obvious, out there for all to see; so I appreciate how vulnerable and frail loss can cause you to feel. But my season also holds many wonders and much wisdom. Pumpkin patches, harvest moons, beautiful foliage, finding your way through a corn maze, these are some of my attractions. Remember to treat yourself to such pleasures which are healing balm for the soul.
Mine is a season of change, transition and harvest. My beauty can so readily capture your eyes and my crisp winds can so easily enliven your senses, that you could overlook my special wisdom: harvest and loss can co-exist in peace. My superpower is harvesting what spring and summer have produced, securing it for the coming winter. Watching migrating geese and squirrels make ready amidst autumnal change is a comforting reminder that death naturally readies the soul for its next season. In the seasons of life and death, there is both beauty and loss.
The sacred rhythm of the changing leaves are quite mystical as they unveil the dying process. Some leaves fall before their full color appears; others hang on through brother winter. Death is like that; it finds some people earlier than others. My leaves, like people can get so incredibly beautiful before they die. Most importantly, leaves teach us how to let go. Some leaves let go early in the season, decomposing willingly, knowing the importance of their offering to blanket the soil so it will become fertile. Others, staying longer, display their beauty as if to remind us of the majesty of life. Do not fall prey to the misbelief that as my leaves fall to the earth, there is nothing left for them to give, no purpose. So it is with grief, it has its purpose, embrace it.
Autumn has taught me a thing or two, so I offer this advice:
- Loss and new life are intrinsically linked. Open yourself to each lesson grief is here to teach you. Though it can be hard, embrace autumn’s hope.
- Seek peace by facing death. Meditate on loss as you witness my season move through its great harvest and prepare the planet for the dark night of its soul, winter.
- There is both beauty and loneliness in grief, wisdom honors both.
- Grieving is hard emotional work. Be gentle with your heart, respect your grief, as it harvests its own fruits.
- Death lies fallow in the eyes of some beholders, in the eyes of others, it is busy preparing for rebirth.
The beauty of the lush green forest enjoyed by the summer hiker is yet more beautiful with the manifold red, orange, and gold which in autumn decorate the same trail. This bountiful scene gives way to stark, barren trees that highlight winter snows, as the cross-country skier finds this winter scene as magnificent as the summer hiker. This annual rhythm of change does not seem to scare us, for we have come to know each season’s beauty. So it shall be with death and grief.