“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy, and if it were merely challenging that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” – E.B. White
I know exactly what White meant when he said this. In the beauty of the autumn days it is almost impossible to concentrate on the tasks at hand and not just want to grab a leash, some water, and a day pack and head out into the woods or along the river. It is on days like this, when the air is crisp and cool but not yet cold, when the sky is bluer than blue and the clouds hang in the distance like fluffs of cotton that were placed there just for my observation, that I am forced, by my thirst for connection to mother earth and all her creations, that I stop saving the world and just bask in the gift of the day.
Anticipation of the colors that will come in the next few weeks from the changing season brings me great happiness. The reds, yellows, and oranges of the changing Maples, Oaks, Elms, and SweetGum. On our walks the acorns and large nuts are falling in large numbers on our heads. I kept thinking that the Squirrels were aiming for us, but I realized it was just… fall. Are you familiar with the ‘GumBalls’ that drop from the SweetGum? They are prickly and roll under foot. On many a walk, because I tend to be looking everywhere else but down at my feet, I have ended up flat on the ground after stepping on one of those silly balls. I always laugh when that happens, because the dogs come to me as to say, “Mom, Mom, are you Ok? What are you doing down here?”
What an incredible opportunity the change of the seasons provides us in understanding the cycle of life and the importance of change. The having to say goodbye to things, like butterflies and hummingbirds, that will make their way to Mexico or Panama, or some other nice warm southern spot to winter and reproduce, and say hello to the wild swans and the geese, coming down from the Yukon or somewhere in Canada to winter on my Chesapeake Bay.
Fall for me is the time to take stock of myself, my world, and my place in it. It is a time to regroup and prepare for the ‘going in’ of winter. To clear my slate, with humans and with nature, for any wrongs I have transgressed in the previous months, and to start fresh for a whole new year. Today I will enjoy the world, tomorrow I will get back to saving it.