I sit at my desk, in front of the big window, watching memory after memory gently drift before my eyes. The reality sets upon me and I try so hard to hold onto each and every falling leaf as if it were a child about to go off on its own, carrying with it a lifetime that I want so much to hold onto and onto and onto.
It's in November that I call it all to mind. It's time to meet change and to reflect as the days grow short, the trees grow breathtaking beautiful and then, mournfully bare as the days pass quickly onto the preamble of winter. Colder, colder, colder.
It's in November that we recall soldiers. Men and women, who, like the autumn leaves, left their homes and drifted off to unfamiliar places, so many of them never to return, so many to be buried under layer upon layer of newly fallen leaves and natural debris. Fallen leaves, fallen soldiers, all in the swoop of a breath.
It was during one November, in a place very far away, that I found myself reminded of so much of this theme. I walked a path of carefully placed bricks that went on for two miles, my eyes cast down upon the path. Each brick bore the name of a fallen soldier, most of them Italian, but then, I noticed another grouping. Fallen soldiers from a different confrontation, a one-sided massacre fought in our country. As I looked, the names of thousands appeared and I bent down every few steps to wipe away a dying leaf to reveal a name and hometown. I thought about so many heart-sickened parents, letting a child go. How painful it must be sending one off to war, not always believing that what they were doing is right.And, then I thought of those who never envisioned that on one day in September, they would suffer so great a loss. November once again reminded me that nothing is forever and we can only learn from our past, that the universe rarely delivers precisely that which we expect, and we must let go on our way to our future, lest we not have one.
The trees. Each autumn they let go of their beauty, allowing themselves to lay bare for months before having another go at it just as the sun does each evening when it sets; earth's ultimate letting-go event. Then, through the barren Winter, Mother Earth, gravid, and in her First Bimester, holds the promise of yet a different kind of letting go when Spring arrives and we welcome the birth, the fruits of her labor, knowing full-well that the beauty is short-lived.
Life can only be understood backwards but must be lived forwards
Soren Kiekegaard, Danish Philosopher and theologian