Sunday, September 23, 2007

A thank you to Autumn

What better time to resume posting to this blog than on the day that marks the Autumn equinox ? My calendar tells me that we passed this point at 2:31 this morning.

Changes in Autumn are incremental; the days are shorter by a couple of minutes, the night temperatures slightly cooler, and the shadows a little longer on the tawny hillsides. But taken together the whole seems greater than the sum of the parts.

The garden in Autumn is rich with lessons if anyone cares to listen. Or it can serve simply as a source of comfort. Pulling out spent bean plants can give rise to a meditation on the transitory nature of life. Alternatively, the rhythmic nature of the work, coupled with the warmth of the departing sun and the cool edge to the breeze, can induce what I think of as the gardening trance, a kind of benign mindlessness that has the power to heal.

Whichever mental path I choose, as I go about the business of cleaning and preparing the garden for winter, I win.

Much as autumn changes are small but cumulative, so are the tiny changes in the mental landscape that culminate in the return to center. Months of living out of balance are left behind as I step back on the turning wheel, picking up where I left off as if I had never been gone. The earth cycles move along in that curious duality of stability and transition and my tiny speck of a garden is no exception. It feels good to be back in synch and I am grateful.