From the Minister
In Jay's column in the current issue of Voices,
he talks about the start of Fall and how it connects with the mood of humankind. An archive of these and other columns by the Ministers is maintained and is accessible on the left:
October 22, 2014
Autumn in the southeast doesn’t show up on some strict schedule. In keeping with our region’s often counter-cultural cantankerousness, it complies with no commands from a calendar. So, this season meanders its way here, weaving itself in and out of our days with a kind of now-you-see-me/now-you-don’t capriciousness. A morning’s crisp chill can readily morph into what feels so much like a summer afternoon. A day suggesting a sweater turns out to be shirt-sleeve weather. Leaves may drift down onto a backyard garden still yielding up a bit more bounty.
I love fall’s fickle flirtation. As a native of this region, it feels right to me that we ease into this moderating season at a rather languid pace. Bridging between the swelter of summer and the chill of winter, let us have as many moderately erratic days as we can, days when the weather catches us off-guard again. May we be surprised at the prospects for yet another comfortable evening and then another out on the porch, even as the view now includes an ever-saturating palette from the nearby trees.
Those American Transcendentalists experienced a symmetry, a soul-connection between humankind and the rest of nature. “Our moods vary from week to week,” wrote Henry David Thoreau, “with the winds and the temperature and the revolution of the seasons.”
For all of our capacity to anesthetize ourselves against the vagrancies of “the winds and the temperature,” there is, within some deeper place in us, a connection, an influence.
So, an autumn 1855 entry in Thoreau’s journal assessed: “This, too, is the recovery of the year,--as if the year, having nearly or quite accomplished its work, and abandoned all design, were in a more favorable and poetic mood . . .” After having bemoaned the searing heat of summer in Concord, Thoreau now relishes more “favorable and poetic” days when his spirits, along with “the year,” experience a time of recovery.
Who of us is oblivious to his sentiments and to his deep sense of connection between the “mood” of these days and our own temperament? Those of us blessed to live in a region where early autumn weekend outings include quick getaways to kaleidoscopic mountain vistas for some and last days on the beach for others are among the ones most able to appreciate just how “favorable and poetic” this time of year can be. Even if our days simply include a brisk morning’s walk in a nearby park or a quiet evening listening to the cricket’s chorus growing languorous, we can appreciate the “recovery” we are being offered.
Amidst all that calls on our time, commands our attention, furrows our brows and weighs on our hearts, we can attend, a bit, to our souls in this season. We can listen deeply to the mood of the year and relish its “favorable and poetic” flavor.
Live in each season as it passes: breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. . . . Be blown on by all the winds. Open all your pores and bathe in all the tides of Nature, in all her streams and oceans, at all seasons . . . Grow green with spring, yellow and ripe with autumn. . . . For all Nature is doing her best each moment to make us well.