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The Ache of Autumn - a season of beauty and necessary decline, a reflection by Jo Gross


A season of beauty and necessary decline

November is here. The clocks will soon turn back, the trees are turning color and beauty illumines the landscape. Yet, to recall the glories of summer and the long days of light, I experience a wave of melancholy in seeing pumpkins disappear and bright orange colors fade into gold. What happened to beautiful October? Is this “the ache of autumn?” The ache deepens as I observe the traditional day set aside to honor the souls of family and friends who have passed on. Where is the certainty and glimpses of truth from which I might grasp this season? How am I reassured that the beauty of living is hidden in the mystery of dying and decline?

Could it be that this relentless ache of uncertainty comes to remind us that change and loss are constant components of life? We experience this paradox every autumn and eventually accept it as reality. Both light and dark are needed, akin to inhaling and exhaling. The beauty of life requires both. How do we know what seedlings are planted within us during the dark nights of the soul?

To view the garden as metaphor is helpful. The roses will soon lie dormant, and as we shuffle through the fallen leaves and gaze at the stripped trees, we feel a kinship with our own losses, a stripping away. This causes us to wonder, yet again, until we sense an epiphany – brightness - mingling with our spirit. Nature’s wisdom and generosity takes hold and inspires us to open our hearts and minds to embrace trust as the opposite of uncertainty. By embracing trust we view this season of beauty and necessary decline as a season of miracles. And we hold on to the notion that the dark valleys of life possess a radiance we cannot see.

Autumn magnifies this testimony and leads us to the elegance of new life.

Onward with gratitude,

Jo Gross

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