Autumn is here with its chilly, damp fingers. It comes with a mixture of memories, some good, some bad, and some with rarely a charge at all. It’s raining, and temperatures have dropped, but the reflections I experience are as satisfying and filling as a bowl of hot carrot-ginger soup. Oh, the feelings that autumn colors bring!
I once worked with a frail young woman who feared autumn. She physically trembled as she talked of how the fall reminded her of death. I listened to her speak and watched her for a few moments before I told her my view. Autumn is a reminder of the abundance of life. And yet, I can see her point of view because earthly things come with earthly fears.
Autumn, for me, is a reminder of things that cannot be taken away; kind of like the theme from the Titanic: the things in our hearts always go on.
So what are the things that can’t be taken away? I have some ideas (surprised?).
Spiritual strength. Ah, the goal. Learning to become a spiritual warrior. It’s oh so not the sinkhole of zealotry and dogmatism. Spiritual warriors drive thriving. Where does the mistake take place? How do our honest journeys become paths divested of purity?
At a party, I once pulled a fortune from a jar that contained the word “Coromantee.” I decided to look it up recently because the word on the fortune was combined with the word “warrior.” I have since learned that the Coromantees from Ghana were warrior tribespeople sold into slavery. They did not go gently. They were so fierce that it is said an Act was proposed to try to prevent slave traders from shipping them to the West. I’ve held that word in my heart for many years as my marching orders. Spiritual warriors cannot be enslaved; one will never control a spiritual warrior’s mind.
This morning, I’m also thinking about Victor Frankel’s Man’s Search for Meaning. Once one becomes a spiritual warrior, there is no one — and this is an absolute, NO one — who can take that strength away.
The first taste of sweet potato pie. Whether or not you believe it, this is one of those luscious memories that can never be taken away. And although I’ve tried to replicate that pie in so many vegan ways, I have not found anything to replace that first taste. Sunday after church, after the roast beef, after the collard greens, after the rice, is pie. Not bean. Not pumpkin. Smooth, rich sweet potato.
Education. Complain as bitterly as we might about the loans, the two or three jobs, the exhaustion that comes with writing papers at 3 AM; there is nothing that beats the joy, pride, and security of knowing that no one can take away what we’ve earned and learned. Ever.
Love and our relationship to the Divine. Embrace or deny it, we are wedded to the Great Mystery. Nope. Can’t be taken away.
One’s relationship to one’s ancestors. Conscious or unconscious, acknowledged or not, we owe a debt to those who came before us.
Autumn is a time when we remember abundance. And I could probably fill pages with other examples of abundance — none of which are monetary. I know. It’s boring to talk about leaves in shades of red and gold, of orange and yellow fruit and vegetables; of dark evenings at five o’clock. But it’s exactly this magic in nature that brings an awareness of abundance. As the rains soften the leaves so that they willingly drop from the trees, and as I watch the leaves fall, I am willing and happy to concede that abundance lies in things that cannot be taken away.
What about your autumnal abundance?