Fall Hike Ruminations

I didn’t want to hike. I was OVER Fall before it began this year. Strange for me as Fall is usually the most favorite season of mine. I love the crisp air and wondrous smell of decaying leaves alongside the most brilliant of colors.

This year I found myself staring at the leaves changing, seeing death. I looked out my yard and instead of brilliant colors, I saw worn leaves trying hard to stay on a tree while the winds were determined to blow them away.

I have seen so much suffering these past months. My dear friend lost her son, gone before he had a chance to see the brilliant world his mama longed to show him. The yoga studio down the street, a place that brought me new strength and healing last winter is now up for lease. Recovering from Covid was too much. My favorite consignment store, a place where I bought the black dress to celebrate my Grandfather’s life as well as a purple lace one to joyously usher Caroline from high school to college, is closing. It could not sustain the long weeks of Covid.

When Spring arrived this year, I was exuberant. Finally NEW life. Fall, this year, feels like the death of hope.

But as you know, it takes courage to face death and decay. I headed to the mountains with my dear friend and hiking partner, Tanya. As we rounded the corner, the brilliant sun beamed through colorful aspens. We got out, stretched our legs and started hiking.

Each step became a prayer within me. As we walked and talked, hope began to build. I love Kahil Gibran’s quote from his essay, Sand and Foam.

Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper, That we may record our emptiness.”

Yes, it is true. Nature is a healer. It shows us that life carries on. Grief makes way to emptiness which can be filled. It takes work to look inside, recording the pieces that don’t sit well.

As I looked up into the brilliant blue sky, surrounded by red and orange flames, I breathed.

Bazzi, the singer, says it so well.

“It feels so good to say
I, I don’t think I’m okay
And that’s okay.”

Fall will move to winter. The ground will seal up and hold on to any warmth it knew from days before. It will be a time of rest and dormancy, a place to begin building tiny seeds for spring to burst forth.

I relish this coming season. My heart feels that purging; preparing for something more, something next. But like Fall has taught me this year, I need to die of things I’m holding on to in order to begin new life.

Maybe you feel the same. Perhaps your journey is like mine. I’ve been digging deep into the history of our country; learning why we have arrived here in this fragmented place as a society. I’ve pulled out my Bible and begun to really deeply question who Jesus is and why he did what he did. I’ve joined forums to read different thoughts. I’ve engaged in wonderfully diverse political conversations, learning more about other’s hearts. The things that haven’t been serving me well, the critical opinions about Covid; well, I’ve been letting them go.

Like that stubborn green aspen that is holding out, willing to be the final tree to turn, that is my heart. Yet like the beauty around that final holdout, the leaves will change, they will drop and begin to start the work of spring, preparing for NEW things.

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