October 1, 2001, A page from my journal ...acg
now natures urgencies are past. This is a time of ripeness, of wholeness, of
plenty. It must have been about now, this time of year, when Adam ate the forbidden
fruit which had ripened to perfectionThe seasons come to fulfillment, not necessarily for the delight and satisfaction of
man but in their own ineluctable procession. If he is both wise and fortunate,
a man should be able to find some measure of contentment now. Hal Borland,
A Song for October
Hal Borland wrote that Autumn was the best time of all to look for meanings.
I agree. The The Harvest Moon came shortly this year following the equinox
and bathed these gentle Shenandoah hills with benevolent light and shadows. No
matter the mischief of September 11, the eternal rhythms by which all of life abides were constant and predictable, ticking
off time everlastingly with precision and accuracy. So it has been from
the beginnings recorded in the book of Genesis, with certainty in the spinning globe and its orbit around the sun, while our
solar system remains in check under the sure navigation of the Creator. Observing
and pondering these, the madness of mens minds and deeds fade away and hope abides.
Down the road less than
a mile from here a roadside market flaunts all the ripeness and maturity of this glorious season. Pumpkins, squash, and gourds contrast with brilliant mums in magnificent abundance. The whole spectacle of another harvest is there for our seeing and understanding. I am reminded that I can harvest or not, not alone to partake of the fruit of the summer, but to see and
fully comprehend the bounty and therefore reap the riches of this year. I know
that I will become a part of this Autumn only so much as I achieve some degree of ripeness and maturity myself. I stopped and lingered and bought a pot of mums the color of claret.
And counted my blessings.
Already there are tints
of color in the forest that enfolds the Massanutten. Just out my kitchen window
the leaves of the redbuds are gasping for breath, the pulse of sap in their veins slowing rapidly and turning them shades
of purple. The cheery tree outside my study, a favorite climbing place
for at least three resident squirrels, has oxidized to oxblood. I am reminded
that no two of the leaves are precisely the same as any other leaf that ever grew. Soon
I will rake them into the ravine that slants into the deep forest at the back of my house where they will form the lifeblood
and substance for root and stem of another season. On several recent jaunts to
and from town Ive seen flocks of wild geese arrowing and honking their way on the skyline and whole squadrons of starlings
frolicking their way southward. Yet once more I brood over these marvels of Autumn
knowing their deepest meanings will remain mysteries as long as man is here to wonder.
This, too, is the season
for remembering. Something about the shorter days recalls other times when crisp
winds blew and leaves fell as I prepared for the long winters nap in other parts of my several worlds. How could I ever forget that Autumn leading to the winter of 1969 when in Japan the snow accumulated to
two hundred inches? Or that year at Sondrestromfjord, Greenland when the temperatures
plunged to sub-zero Fahrenheit in October and the thaw didnt come until April? Or
the Octoberfests in Germany? Remembering with such a rich legacy of life experiences calls for Thanksgiving for all Ive survived,
all I have known of the many passing seasons. So another now rapidly rushes by. As for man, his days are as grass: as
a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it
is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no moreBless the Lord, O my soul. (Psalm 103).