In artist Jessica Nichols‘s recent newsletter, she said “I learned two weeks ago that in Chinese medicine, fall is a season for grieving.” I feel this in the way nature shifts – the garden has died, the compost pile is working its magic on the flowers and food of summer gardens, and each day is the tiniest bit darker and shorter. This is also a time of year that I can’t help remembering the end of both Obi and Dexter’s lives, being in that space where any day could be their last, and still missing them so much all these years later. It’s also the official ramp up of the holiday season, one that I spend away from my people and their rituals, and that still feels strange, slightly off.
It’s a season that feels confusing in its conflict. On the one hand, culture is pushing us to speed up, to do more, consume more. Students return to school and another season of TV programs start, a time of new beginnings. It’s a season of multiple holidays and all the demands on our resources, energy and time that come with it. This year, there are elections too. And yet, there is nature calling us to slow down, showing us that there is wisdom and necessity in fallowness, in rest. It reminds us that we all will bloom and eventually die, it’s simply the nature of things.
As the wise Pema Chödrön reminds us, “We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”