As a former teacher, September rather than January, spelled new beginnings and it is hard to break that association. However, nature seems at odds with this sense of new beginnings as she starts her preparation for winter. As September proceeds, the fullness of summer begins to wane, flowers and foliage wither and fade. The gathering of the harvest grain begins. The days grow shorter. The birds prepare to fly south. Animals gather food for hibernation. I love this season with the cooler weather, the sparkle of frost on the grass, the scarves of mist that slither over the fields in a blue dusk and of course the blaze of sunset colours that carpet the forest floor. Fall is a relatively short season of transition into the dark days of winter but if we look at Fall as part of a cycle and not a season in its own right, the feeling of new beginnings is not so odd, for all transitions are part and parcel of the cycle of endings and beginnings.
Transitions are part of a path to a new beginning at whatever level we experience it. The task is to let go of what must die in order to open up new growth within and without our world. Fall is a wonderful time to pause and reflect, to drink in the beauty of the falling leaves and trust the dying and loss we see and feel all around us. The falling leaf and the new budding are but one moment in time. If we allow it, the splendour of the season reminds us that death and life are one and loss and grief are an inescapable part of everyone’s experience. As the tree sheds its old foliage and undergoes a stripping down to core, we know that this is not the end of the story for come spring, the new leaves will re-emerge in a splendour of translucent green. Under the ground, in the darkess and silence of winter’s seeming death, new life is already stirring. There is no death, only the appearance and perhaps the colours of Fall are shouting this message to a despairing world.