“We’re All Falling” The Start of Autumn
Chestnuts dropping from their trees. Crisp leaves swirling around. A panoramic scene of colourful leaves, especially in a rural setting. The Vee formation and honking sounds of migrating geese. Farmers and gardeners bringing in the final fruits of their efforts. Farmers markets.
I love the first half of fall – flowers such as asters, crunchy trees displaying the breadth of their colours, the treat of what we used to call Indian summer (is that phrase still legitimate to use?), cool evenings. By the second half of the season, I’m starting to realize what is around the corner. The bare trees and the occasional snow flurry make it impossible to ignore the imminence of winter.
Today – Monday, September 23 – is the first day of Autumn in the northern hemisphere. I suspect that it is a favourite season for many of us. It includes the possibility of new beginnings, the chance to start over. But this season has often been associated with melancholia. The endless opportunities of summer are gone and winter is on the horizon. Many people turn inward and become more reflective. That melancholic nature is evident in much poetry.
- Autumn, by Rainer Maria Rilke, speaks of the Someone who holds up all of the falling, whether it’s leaves or each of us.
The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,
as if orchards were dying high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning “no.”
And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all other stars in the loneliness.
We’re all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one. It’s in them all.
And yet there is Someone, whose hands
infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.
- Carl Sandburg’s Autumn Movement sees the fall reminding us of the fleeting nature of beauty. Everything, and all of us, will die or fall apart.
I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.
The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman,
the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.
The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes, new beautiful things
come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind, and the old things go,
not one lasts.