Sprawled on sunny ground
Crunchy leaves and dusty grass
Scent of fruit and death
Fruit and death. The scent of autumn, and what comes to mind as I clear out the house we’ve lived in for nearly 30 years. Finding things long forgotten, savoring the memories, letting so many treasures go. Filled with grief for the passing and gratitude for the abundance.
Not just discarding beloved things, but also markers of who we’ve been as a family, and who I’ve been—lawyer, mother, grad student, professor, speaker, facilitator of rituals, circles and retreats—roles that remain part of me but that I won’t be expressing in the same way (or at all) any more.
Another, unexpected layer of grief and gratitude: noticing and letting go of what I will miss about this house—the many windows, two carefully-picked and well-loved light fixtures, the shelf in my kitchen window that is my daily altar.
The scent of fruit and death everywhere.
Yet the shedding feels good (afterwards anyway). I feel scoured out by letting the stew of my emotions bubble and overflow, through me and out. Making space physically and emotionally for a new home and a new life.
I suppose that’s where all of us are right now, individually and as a country: noticing what is gone, old or obsolete and deciding who we are and what we value now. But the many layers of emotion and meaning I am discovering in my house clearing suggest that these broader questions may have more layers than we think, and we may need more time to grieve than we expect.
Thank goodness Mother Nature, intense as she is Herself, still provides a respite for me from all this emotion. Some things don’t change, like my need for play. And my love of jumping and lying on piles of dry leaves in the fall. How can leaves so stiff, prickly and dusty, be so soft and warm and comforting? Tickling my neck and cradling my head at the same time?
That mystery reminds me of a drawing I did this winter. At first I was disappointed to see that it looked like a bug, something that my intuitive drawings resemble too often for my liking.
For fun I turned it sideways and to my delight I saw a silly guy who looked as if he was as surprised to see me as I was to see him.
And when I turned that guy upside down another guy appeared, one who seemed to be having as hard a time as I am now sometimes.
I’ve always believed that the essence of Life is paradox. But perhaps it’s even more complex, more multilayered and multi-dimensional than that. Certainly not black or white (usually both), and perhaps not just gray, but also green and yellow and blue and red…