The Beautiful Process of Living and Dying

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ~Lucy Montgomery 

Autumn is my favorite season. I lose my heart to the tastes and smells of October- the fallen leaves filling the air with the scent of cinnamon, the pumpkin flavored everything, the walks in the park completely enveloped in a swirl of orange and yellow and red. The weather is perfect and the sunsets are gorgeous and I could just bury myself in a half-dozen blankets and waste the day away with my black cat in my lap and a book in my hand. There is truly something to be said about the fall- something magical.

I love this season. It often reminds me of endings and new beginnings. Ask people what their favorite part of autumn is and I can almost guarantee your most popular answer will be the trees. They are exceedingly beautiful, with their drooping branches and lustful abundance of color, and yet there is a touch of bittersweetness in the way we look at and admire them but know at the same time that they are dying.The leaves are stunning, but they fall softly to the earth to rot and decay and fade away into nothingness. The trees are abundant with life but in a few short weeks their branches will be bare, the memory of warmer days still clinging to the fragile bark. Life is flashing before our eyes, swept away to the wind.

But it is beautiful. Death is beautiful. We mourn the passing of July and the vanishing sun but know in our hearts that their time is over, that it is only natural, that winter must come and bring with it flurries of snow to blanket the world and hot cocoa mix to warm our tired and weary souls. Autumn is a reminder that the earth has lived fully and is now ready for the sleep and rest that comes with the winter months. The trees have had their moment, and now that moment is over, ready to be replaced by another.

So many can find it in themselves to hate the winter. They see in it only the grueling task of shoveling snow, the torturous trips to Target for some last-minute Christmas shopping, the tangling of lights and the rising cost of heating their homes. When I think of winter, I instead feel the radiating warmth of a fireplace and the glow of the holiday spirit. I hear the ringing of bells and All I Want for Christmas is You played repeatedly over my favorite radio station. There’s children in the backyard building snowmen, with red cheeks and a twinkle in their eyes.

I find something beautiful in every time of the year, and I feel blessed that I live in a place where I can enjoy each and every one of them. The change and rotating of seasons constantly give me something new to look forward to. Summer brings laughter, Fall brings beauty, Winter brings rest, and Spring brings hope. I never get bored with the world. I just sit back and watch in wonder as time flies before my eyes like birds taking flight and the Earth spins on its axis like a dancer, never faltering in her leaps and twirls.

Life changes and flows from one thing into another, but is never lost. Take a step outside for a moment today and breathe deeply, reminding yourself that you are not so different from a tree. Find something to admire and marvel at in every aspect of your life and hold on to it tightly. Even after it’s gone, don’t relinquish the memory. Nothing is lost until it is forgotten. Leave a trace of yourself behind, a tiny part of you that can tell your tale after you’re long gone, such as the tree that stands tall even after the shedding of its leaves, a tribute to the days of summer long past and a reminder that there is more, there is always something more, ahead.

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