Oh this is a lovely time of year!

The trees begin to turn colors, to let loose their foliage and reveal their true structures. Or they withdraw into themselves, aloof and apart, green and strong against the gray skies and dark tempests.

The flowers fade away, like the last rays of sunlight, a final show of brilliance! Then gone.

The animals keep close, sheltering as best they can against the darkening world…

Reminders of our own impermanence blown about with the leaves appear alongside the reminders of coming renewal of life: the pregnant nuts carried by the squirrels and jays; the sides of the roads thick with downy seeds that will overwinter beneath the seeds of grass and rushes; the dying gets ready to nourish its offspring.

But, not yet.

No, first we will face the ever darkening skies, the cold and the damp. Just as the harvest is gathered in, we are reminded that still we must pass through leaner times. As the final glowing days rush past, sweeping out the summer air, we pause, we plan, we prepare. Our fears and imaginings will grow as the days grow shorter and the nights colder. We will walk once again with our ancestors, through a valley long with sober thoughts and meager opportunities.

And still we know, as the stars revolve in the heavens, as the sun spins in space, as the moon dances around the earth… there are gifts to be found in this time; there are journeys to complete and begin; Life is good.