All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travelers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken.
Nothing stirs the soul like autumn. We awake from the nepenthean sleep of summer and witness something even more beautiful than we imagined — more beautiful perhaps because we are forced the recognize the transient nature of what we love. It is a time for reckoning, a time to discard the frivolous and return to our essence, a time to prepare for the coming winter. That is why, as Thomas Wolfe observed, all things point to home in late October. Home is the place where our hearts find solace, the place where our authentic lives are rooted, the place where we will wait like the ancients for the reassurance of another spring.
Some of our finest poets have meditated on the implications of autumn for the human spirit. What they have to say is much of what I feel during these closing days of October. What you take from these poems will depend upon where you are at this point in your own personal journey. Enjoy.
A certain day became a presence to me;
there it was, confronting me -- a sky, air, light:
a being. And before it started to descend
from the height of noon, it leaned over
and struck my shoulder as if with
the flat of a sword, granting me
honor and a task. The day's blow
rang out, metallic -- or it was I, a bell awakened,
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can.
"Variation on a Theme by Rilke"
Withered vines, gnarled trees, twilight crows,
river flowing beneath the little bridge,
past someone's home.
The wind blows from the west
where the sun sets, it blows
across the ancient road,
across the bony horse,
across the despairing man
who stands at heaven's edge.
"Meditation in Autumn"
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
"Nothing Gold Can Stay"
"Nothing Gold Can Stay"
Lord, it is time. The summer was so great,
Impose upon the sundials now your shadows
and round the meadows let the winds rotate.
Command the last fruits to incarnadine;
vouchsafe, to urge them on into completeness,
yet two more south-like days; and that last
inveigle it into the heavy vine.
He'll not build now, who has no house awaiting.
Who's now alone, for long will so remain:
sit late, read, write long letters, and again
return to restless perambulating
the avenues of parks when leaves downrain.
The leaves are falling, falling as from far,
as though above were withering farthest gardens;
they fall with a denying attitude.
And by night, down into solitude,
the heavy earth falls far from every star.
We are all falling. This hand's falling too —
and have this falling-sickness none withstands.
And yet there's One whose gently-holding hands
this universal falling can't fall through.
Peace to Everyone!