Saturday, October 10, 2009

Autumn Surrender

Autumn, my favorite season, is a mystical time with a beautiful language all its own, a language my soul understands, no translation needed. A kind of eternal longing wells up in me that seems stronger in autumn than it does in other seasons. Perhaps it is my own forgotten memories of a source of life behind the life I now know, my own unrealized yearnings to return home.

…I often hear people talk about spring cleaning which involves anything from going through closets and downsizing, to cleaning the house from top to bottom. I personally like to use the season of autumn to do this. It fits well with the house cleaning that nature is doing. For the past few years, it has become my custom in autumn to evaluate what needs to be relinquished in my life. Sometimes possessions weigh me down. At other times it is my character flaws that burden not only me, but everyone who lives with me. I look into my closet and into my heart each autumn and ask, “Is there anything I could surrender that would help me become a freer person?

One of the things I enjoy about autumn is that, unlike myself, it looks like it’s having fun surrendering. There is a playfulness about it. All those bright colors and falling leaves! As a child I used to stand in the midst of dancing leaves on a windy autumn day. My face turned upward, my hands stretched out, I would gather the leaves in my arms like birds falling from the sky. On some days I would try to keep my eye on a single leaf, following it wherever it led me, which was sometimes over the fence into the neighbor’s pasture. One day, having worn myself out, my mother found me asleep in a big pile of leaves. The memory is a good one and I find myself wishing I would wear myself out playing a bit more in my adult years.

—taken from THE CIRCLE OF LIFE, p 186
by Joyce Rupp & Macrina Wiederkehr


  1. Autumn is a challenge for me. I think often of Pascal's theory of distraction, that man's problems emanate from his inability to just Be. That Attention to Being is my connection with the Real. The challenge is to Be without falling asleep!

  2. I loved this! You are so right! It does look like it is having fun letting go. A few days ago we were driving home and ran into a veritable blizzard of yellow leaves. It made me very happy to see so many falling and blowing around, but my daughter Annie said, "No, no! They'll be gone too soon." Autumn is always far too short for me. One of the sights that brings me the most wonder is when there is no wind at all, nothing that would blow the leaves off of the tree, but a leaf releases and falls gently and happily down to the ground. This is what I see when I read your post.

  3. Yes,it seems like autumn is New Year for me, new beginnings. I like your book from which this was taken. Nature can be scriptures, too...

  4. Fe, am I going to see you at the retreat in San Damiano next week. Hope so.

  5. I am so looking forward to meeting you and taking time out for this retreat. Perhaps our drought in northern California has ended. It's raining raining raining... I sorely lack discipline in doing anything consistently, like a set time for prayer.

  6. Rain! Oh don't tell me. We've had nothing but rain for a week. I was hoping to see some sunshine in California. Well, if not we'll just enjoy the liquid sunshine.