Legends Of The Fall

Legends Of The Fall

In my hometown where I grew up, an event happens every year in the fall. It is called Pumpkin Shine and it takes place in a beautiful park in the city.  Each year people from school age children to artistically inclined adults carve pumpkins of every sort imaginable, place candles inside them, and as the sun sets and darkness descends, the whole park is transformed into a wonderland of glowing pumpkins.

My wife is an amazingly talented artist and every year her creations would win blue ribbons. But that was simply a small bit of icing on what was already a wonderful cake. The real magic was the fall season, people coming together to create beauty just for its own sake, and the joy the event brought to the throngs of visitors who would come to see all the creativity. The whole of the scene was spellbinding.

Looking back on it (such an event doesn’t exist in our current city) I have come to realize a few things. The fall season is full of lessons to consider…

In the summer, all the leaves on the trees are green because they are full of chlorophyll. The miraculous substance converts light energy to chemical energy. The light absorbed by chlorophyll supplies the energy used by plants to transform carbon dioxide and water into oxygen that gives all land animals the breath of life. As the summer season gives way to fall, the chlorophyll begins to dry up. As the leaves begin to die, they show their true colors – they put on their magnificent robes of fall.

Then, when the leaves fall to the ground, they provide shelter and homes for all manner of insects that need a resting place for the winter. They also insulate the ground so that the creatures living in the soil don’t freeze. Finally, when the leaves break down and decompose, they fertilize the soil, providing nutrients to support the growth of the trees and so many other plants come springtime.

As we grow older, the cycles of our lives are very much the same. As humans, our very nature is to be born, to grow old, to fall sick, and to die. When we are young, we relish growing older as new opportunities and experiences emerge – independence, first loves, a driver’s license, leaving home for the first time, our first career.

With the passing seasons, our bodies weaken, we may become ill, friends may die. Society tells us we must continue to look young at any cost, that we must keep pace with all the emerging technology, that as we age our value decreases.  It all causes us great suffering.

But if we are open, our minds still, we notice that our youthful energy has been replaced with innumerable life experiences that allow us make better, more considered choices. We realize that a quiet evening with good friends can be more enjoyable than a night out on the town surrounded by strangers. And we find more time for spiritual practice as we let go of our youthful desires and folly.

As the autumn leaves fall from the tree that is our life, we realize that they’re making room for new growth to emerge. In our older and wiser state, we may read more, learn more, evolve, become more spiritual in our outlook. This evolution, when rightly apprehended, encourages us to rejoice in the season of fall – whether in a park full of shining pumpkins or in the unfolding wonders of our ability to take kindly the counsel of the years.

So as the fall season clocks in, as the leaves begin to don their dazzling regalia, and the enchanting smell of fires permeate the brisk, crisp fall air, appreciate it all as a child who looks at the orange and red leaves of autumn and understands that they are harbingers of wondrous days to come – evidence that life has untouched, exciting mysteries in store.

The impermanence, the changing, the cycles, the wonder – the pumpkins! 

Check out the Happiness 2.0 Podcast – https://podcast.edwardgdunn.com/

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