Fall is a time when we learn about aging. And it is a lesson that is happening in abundance right now.
If spring is about budding and leaves and the burst of youth; if summer is about growth and exploration, the sweep of the canopy, the vibrant arc of youth maturing; if winter is about structure, stability and the solid constancy that supports the rest; then fall is about aging.
It is the time when trees tire and rest, shed their foliage and quiet down to protect their inner-most resources. It is a time of divestiture, when they gift back to the world the riches, final fruits and wisdom of the previous year.
And in that letting go, in the release and relaxation when production is set aside and just-being sets in (in the trees’ terms, the cessation and loss of chlorophyll), the beauty of aging can most be revealed.
Fall is a time that shows us life’s other true colors. It is a time when we learn to distinguish the necessary from the desirous; the enduring from the fleeting; the core from the ephemeral. It is a time when we learn how to survive certain loses; how to dig deep for our comfort; how to hold onto life’s promise even amid loss and pain.
Fall is a season of sweet, soft sadness. It is here.
(Photo: leaf plucked from a sidewalk in Silver Spring on the day my granddaughter was born.)