Wednesday Wish (166); Autumn Whispers
On the Tennessee mountain where I make my home, Fall comes gently. It creeps in like a slow-moving wave, never rushing but gently guiding—stone by stone, bird by bird, leaf by leaf, touching each with a silent, memory-laden whisper. It’s coming. It’s coming. The time to go inward is coming.
I wake one morning to find the stones shivering, their faces tighter, more stoic than I remember. Birds linger for less time on their favorite summer spots and longer where the now distant sun warms their thickening feathers. For the leaves, most listen and know exactly what they’re supposed to do. They open their veins, letting the cool air infuse them with the invitation to transform and to let go. To transform from all that they were, into what they will be, from a bright, doing job into a deep, being job. And to let go of all they’ve ever been attached to, all the way down to their roots.
As I walk among the trees in the woods behind my house, hearing the messages of Autumn’s gentle hand, I’m struck by the same colors and scents we all know so well by now. The golden browns. The twigs crackling underfoot. The sweet decay. The muted blue-golden sky and the crisp clean creek-laden air. I let a shiver find me, it echoes beneath my skin, and just then, I see him, one of the most beautiful leaves I’ve ever met.
He isn’t one color. He’s all colors. He’s green, brown, red, yellow, and orange—every color a leaf could ever be. The brown and orange is on one side, the red, yellow and green are on the other. One side shows an entirely different experience of Fall than the other. He's divided down the center. And then, as if I were given a gift for taking the time to look a bit deeper, I see it, an opening in the center. It isn’t perfectly round, in fact, it’s an odd sort of shape, maybe the wind or water or an animal took a bite out of it. But it resonates with something sacred, something rich, something crucial for the rest of the leaf . . . something crucial for me. The empty space at the core of this uniquely divided leaf is the place between opposites where imagination takes root, where possibility is born.
I pick him up, recognizing him as a treasure among treasures, unique in ways I’ve never seen, unique in ways I need to hear. I place him in a stone vase on my desk, and there he sits, half in one world, half in another, with a circle of space at his core reminding me to hold space within my own self for the wisdom of imagination to take root, for the dream of a new world where difference doesn’t mean division anymore, but something far more beautiful and far more hopeful—a taste of limitless possibility.
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Autumn comes to our world every year and every year we’re invited to reinvent ourselves, to transform into something we didn’t know we could be. We may shiver in the cold, we may look to the sun, we may let go of what no longer serves us and grow into what will. But can we hear the silent whispers hidden in plain sight, aching to be seen, begging to be heard?
Wisdom is not exclusive to the brain. In fact, more often than not, our minds cloud the wisest vision of all, that of our deepest selves rooted in nature, in our connection to the earth, to the sky, to the trees and to the birds. Human perspectives shift with times, with cultures and faiths and dominating forces. But nature speaks consistently, purely, silently beneath it all, above it all, aching to soothe our challenges, to lessen our fears, to show us that there’s always a way to heal that which feels so very damaged.
Now, more than ever, it’s our turn to really listen. To really hear. To spend time looking deep enough to uncover the wise, guiding gifts that’ve always been there, waiting patiently, silently whispering. There's a path of beautiful, infinite possibility, say the whispers. Soften enough to see the space between, and you will experience it, too.