“Now burn the twin fires of Autumn, the smokeless fires of the woodland and the twin fires on the hearth.” Hal Borland
The beginning of fall and the autumnal equinox have been seen in many cultures as the beginning of a new year, a time for reflection and resolution. In the Jewish culture, the High Holiday of Yom Kippur is the day of public atonement, a sacred withdrawal from the world for 24 hours in order to become right with God and others, so that real life might be renewed with passion and purpose. In the Muslim world, after pilgrims return from the journey of the Hajj, they are to begin life anew. In Western culture, people begin to feel a natural shift of life as the seasons change and students return to classrooms, crops and produce are ripening in abundance, and we adjust to hot days and cool nights.
As we feel time hastening and days shortening, we may also feel called to look more inward, be more reflective, and examine our own life journey. I have noticed that women coming into treatment at Sanford House these past few weeks have a great sense of earnestness and a Fall fever of change. They come with hearts that listen and reach for understanding. They are ripe for learning.
The autumnal resolutions that we make now are different than the ones we might list on the first of January. At the beginning of the year, we may be worn out physically, financially and spiritually. Our greatest need may be that of rest. But in autumn, change is in the air and our new determinations reflect more wisdom and maturity as they are harvested from experience. Change is part of continuity, an achievement rather than completion.
Hal Borland writes, “Thus comes Autumn, leaf by leaf and tree by tree: thus the woods become a hooked rug flung across the hills…Pick up one leaf of those already cast adrift and you can hold Autumn in your hand.” Trees and leaves are frequently used in metaphors for recovery. Autumn days are tantalizing, good for wandering around our recovery pathways, exploring the leaves of change and nourishing our spirits. I hope you enjoy them.