Posted on | October 17, 2012 | 2 Comments
For the past few days, it has finally felt like Fall outside.
The leaves in my yard are inexplicably on the ground when just yesterday they clothed the trees, the temperatures are sweetly jacket worthy, and the air has the unmistakeable hint of smoke, wafting from either preliminary chimney use or burning leaves. For some reason, it is that smell of burning that always means fall to me… as though I need the ashes of summer to move forward into the remainder of my year… as though I must burn off the memories of lighter days to fully sink into the cloaked chill of autumn.
I’ve honestly not been sure how I’d feel about fall this year. For a while, it was my favorite season: pumpkins, boots, warm coats tucked up to your chin and always the smell of something not quite cinnamon enough for winter hovering just beyond reach. And then there was last year… a year that stripped me as bare as the trees, that left me yearning for the sweet smell of cut grass and budding blossoms of Spring. A year that made me long for anything other than the stark emptiness that Fall seemed to promise… the black and white world of winter, the shrouded bleak of a year alone.
Last year, Fall was a covering: coat after coat of shellacked enamel attempting to stop the force of bleeding from my oh-so-unmended heart. Last year Fall was, well, a falling: one leaf at a time, one tear at a time, one hazy, almost gone and nearly forgotten memory at a time. Last year, Fall was a darkening: a heavy, clouded darkening that settled atop my world with precision, a hefty patchwork quilt of sorrow draped about me for what seemed like an eternity.
But with Spring came new life and with Summer came new hope and it was almost as though last fall had never happened…. until now. Until the wafting smell of smoke tickles at my nostrils again and reminds me, as seasons do, that everything comes back around. So this year, I’m left wondering what I have to show for myself, what I have to stand on as my platform of life, now that fall is here again…. now that I have survived another, heavier, turn around the sun.
And ultimately, I think it is simply this:
That the world moves on. Time moves on. You, I.. each of us, move on. As much as our baggage weighs us down, halts our steps, hinders our ability to see what is spinning forward… everything is still spinning forward. For all the time I spent swaddled in the still of being sad, I was being unmistakeably carried forward… by the arms of my friends, by the words of my family, by the whispered reminders of strangers. And this fall, I find myself facing the world with a quiet strength I never knew I had. This fall, I find myself breathing in the ashes of the life I had before, letting them filter through my lungs and exhaling them into the ever-spinning twirl of autumn. Exhaling them with a flourish, a sadness for what was and for what will never be. But exhaling all the same …. making room for the sweet intake of newness: new memories, new friends, new experiences.
This fall, I am not nearly as alone as I believed myself to be last year, even as I rested my head wearily into the arms of the world. This fall I recognize the words, the arms, the prayers that soundlessly lifted me up when I believed I was drowning, that carried me forward when I thought myself twisting backwards, that dried my tears when I worried that I cried alone.
This fall, I welcome it all back… welcome back the spinning circle of life that stretches before me… and I know now, that in this life, we are never, ever, crying alone.
And for all of that, for the past year of ups and downs and sideways… I can only say thank you. To all of you. To each of you. For being the arms and the words that lifted and sheltered, that cradled and chastised, that shamed and applauded until I find myself here… standing firmly again on the platform of my life.