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Mid-Autumn Philosophy

“I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow, its tone mellower, its colours richer, and it is tinged a little with sorrow and a premonition of death. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor of the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and is content. From a knowledge of those limitations and its richness of experience emerges a symphony of colours, richer than all, its green speaking of life and strength, its orange speaking of golden content and its purple of resignation and death”
― Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living

The leaves on the white oaks stubbornly hold on, even as the rest of the leaves are weeks into their return to earth. Still a lot of green in those leaves, I see. And orange and red and yellow. The oaks don’t get the attention that the maple leaves get – how could they possibly compete? And yet they remain the more resilient reminder of the warmer months. So we begin the waiting game.

Two weekends ago the yard was cleared of every leaf and acorn. We knew it was only round one. Sure enough we had snow and cold temperatures roll in, and the leaves started raining down off the red oaks. Snow and red oak leaves scattered everywhere as if Mother Nature had vomited over the yard. Not a good look at all, really.

But soon the snow melted and the winds picked up and the red oak leaves became a gift to others down the street. Or maybe the next town over. The winds were pretty strong and leaves love to fly, so your guess is as good as mine. The wind giveth, the wind taketh away.

The stack of wood sits waiting for frozen ground and a chain saw to get chopped up into stackable bits. I gave the chain saw away in 2019 to someone who needed it more. I still hear about that, but it’s a phone call away and it was never mine to begin with. I find owning things to be a stack of small burdens that ask for attention, and yet we stack them like firewood anyway. Stuff we must take care of, stuff we give away time to. Stuff that doesn’t matter all that much in the long run.

And so we slide towards late Autumn, when the trees concede their final leaves, the ground is raked bare once again, and life returns to a naked slumber. The days are short and grow dark too soon. A reminder that life too is short, but didn’t we know that all along? Embrace the cold, short days. For there’s magic in them. And this too shall pass.

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