(remember to click on the images to experience a more beautiful world)
from verdant green
to flaming colors
no rainbow ever dreamed
but the trees dare
from flourishing fields
of growing grain
to shorn earth
of tawny stubble
the wheel turns
draws to a close
and the growing season
meets its maker
across the path
stirring more poignantly
whatever wistful nostalgia
might have blossomed
late before the frost
this perishing moment
is an eternity
Though we are weeks away from the true beginning of Autumn and the change in weather, there are always foreshadowings that occur long before the season arrives.
The honking of Canada Geese from overhead – small family flocks, this year’s hatchlings, flying for the first time. Preparing for their long migration to come.
Acorns, (the Oak-Corn) falling to the ground, which everyone associates with Autumn, actually happens in late August each year, and has already begun.
Also in August, invariably to my recollection, we suddenly have a spat of very cool, fall-like weather, right in the midst of the heat of late summer. Which we just experienced these last two days.
And this cool spell casts a spell upon certain of the trees, coaxing them to scatter a few yellowed leaves upon the ground.
Thoreau said: “Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.”
We are awash in the constant flow. In the ticking of the clock. In the earth’s incremental journey around the sun. In the joy of watching children grow up. In the aging of our own bodies. And yet each moment speaks to us of eternity.
An air mass of the Pacific flows far north, infiltrates the Arctic, displaces the air mass of the Arctic, which flows south displacing the Temperate air mass over North America. Meanwhile, another Tropical air mass, originating in the Gulf of Mexico, flows north and encounters the errant Arctic air; the Tropical air flows over that colder, denser air, and, cooling as it rises, it can no longer hold the moister that it contains, which condensates as snow.
What subtle and far-off forces affect our lives. However we may seek to be of temperate nature, events that originate outside our hemisphere of influence will converge and precipitate their effects upon us. Our ability to hold steady our internal barometric pressure, no matter the external high or low pressure systems that we find ourselves immersed in, is of course the measure of how well we’ve weathered the storm.
Within the twilight’s glimmering
and his passage gained admittance
across the threshold of the spheres.
From the nether world of shadows
to this world of blood and flesh
attend his rustling footsteps
as he treads upon the corpses
of countless fallen leaves.
As deeper grows the darkness
his lantern burns the brighter
the Sin Eater beckons all
the living and the dead.
As loathsome ghoul reviled
glowing eyes and garish smile
oft mistaken for incarnate evil
a holy calling he bears instead.
A purger of sins unrepented
he gathers with his lantern
as moths they fly from withering souls
their guilt at last surrendered.
While we now tend to celebrate the Celtic Cross-Quarter day of Samhain with Halloween, the actual mid-point between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice falls somewhere between the 5th and 7th of November, being November 7th this year.
“Cross-Quarter moments are interpolated as the midway points between the Solstices and Equinoxes measured in degrees along the ecliptic. Former NASA scientist Rollin Gillespie uses this spatial method rather than simply splitting in half the time interval between a Solstice and an Equinox.”
Background info from different sources:
The term “will-o’-the-wisp” comes from “wisp”, a bundle of sticks or paper sometimes used as a torch, and the name “Will”: thus, “Will-of-the-torch”. The term jack-o’-lantern “Jack of [the] lantern” has a similar meaning.
A will-o’-the-wisp /ˌwɪl ə ðə ˈwɪsp/ are atmospheric ghost lights seen by travellers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes. It resembles a flickering lamp and is said to recede if approached, drawing travellers from the safe paths. The phenomenon is known by a variety of names, including jack-o’-lantern, friars’s lantern, hinkypunk, and hobby lantern in English folk belief, well attested in English folklore and in much of European folklore.
There are various explanations for the Will o’ the Wisps, the most general being that they are malevolent spirits either of the dead or non-human intelligence. They have a mischievous and often malevolent nature, luring unwary travellers into dangerous situations. Wirt Sikes in his book British Goblins alludes a common story about a Welsh Will o’ the Wisp (Pwca or Ellylldan); a peasant, who is travelling home late in the evening sees a bright light travelling before him, looking closer he sees that the light is a lantern held by a “dusky little figure” which he follows for several miles, suddenly he finds himself standing on the edge of a great chasm with a roaring torrent of water rushing below him. At that moment the lantern carrier leaps across the fissure, raises the light over its head and lets out a malicious laugh, after which it blows out the light leaving the unfortunate man far from home, standing in pitch darkness at the edge of a precipice. They were not always so dangerous, and there are tales told about the Will o’ the Wisp being guardians of treasure, leading those brave enough to follow them to sure riches.
gracefully the trees shed their summer cloaks
surrendering all outer life, to go deep within
as the dark nights lengthen, the season of frost settles
and the wind blows cold
while we don our winter coats
preserving our hot-blooded lives
yet still the dark and the cold and the wind
coax us to turn inward
deep into the roots of our being
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
Take kindly the council of years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
You are child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life
keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams
it is still a beautiful world.
text from Desiderata
by Max Ehrmann, 1927