In spite of the harvest, in spite of the colorful trees, the brisk days, the frost-edges leaves, autumn is not my favorite time.
Autumn continues to be the precursor to winter, no matter how I try to think of the present, stay in the now, la-di-da. We hit the equinox, and my dahlias are dying. Everything in my garden that has given me joy all spring and summer is fading to death. The optimism I have worked so hard to build in AA now has to work hard against the flower gardener's sorrow.
I'm out there in the garden every morning, gathering in the last survivors, placing vases of flowers everywhere in my home. You'd think I was preparing for a catastrophe.
We're going through a heat wave here, a week of the 100+ temperatures; you'd think I'd be happy. But I'm not. I'm sad. I'm picking the stragglers, the vulnerable, the less-than-award-winners I grew this summer. Negative thinking is running amok.
It's a beautiful world I live in, BUT depression is starting to set in as the light says goodnight earlier each day. Maybe I suffer from SADD. Maybe I'm just MAD. I pour my heart and hands into that garden and it is the season for seeds, little birds that feed on the seeds, the last hurrah before the season I hate.
Boy, am I feeling melancholy today. The heat is cooking the tender young buds. Another week of this is forecast. Blah, blah, blah.
Thank God for small things, big things: I'm headed tomorrow for the redwoods, the tallest trees in the world. Thank God Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't close the California campgrounds. Thank God that today is my 18-month sobriety date. (Enter negative thinking: I had 15 years and went out!) (Out, damn thought; I've had a wonderful life of sobriety mostly, and I work the program hard, and I sponsor three beautiful beacons of women who are getting It, and the past 18 months has been among the best of my whole life! Thank you, Higher Power, that I haven't once thought of killing myself in a long, long time. There)
Okay, now I'm more serene. We can learn from the cycles of life. I have learned: to have faith that the dead will rise again; to have faith that each season is necessary; to trudge when necessary; to write poems when sad; to enjoy the moment even though this too shall pass; to use the same approach when unhappy; and to be glad for those who are glad about autumn.
According to the weather report, fall won't hit here for quite a few weeks, and then we'll have the pumpkins and squash, the riotous joy in the trees. The good news is: I can still wear shorts!
Here's a silly poem about my take on the autumnal equinox.
One wakens to find an autumnal gloom
has lowered the boom on summer.
The bright yellow days segue to grays,
and the loins that ran rampant grow still
Yes, autumn is crisp with colors in the mist,
with apples and pumpkins galore, but still –
And not the least of all are the colors of fall
and the riotous joy in the trees. But please
let the haze drift away and the sun warm this day,
and don’t let the winter come soon. For one’s bones
are brittle and they ache a little, and one’s brain
doesn’t bloom in the gloom.
Chris Alba (c) 2008