It’s mid October and I’ve missed that brief one or two-day period when the Aspen leaves are at the brink of losing their last flash of Autumn’s dying beauty—-even death has its display of pastel-ed glory, and then the wind sweeps all vanity away. I am left with only stark branches like the bones of summer to carry me through the skeleton of another season passed. At my feet the fallen leaves stir as I make my annual hike around Spooner lake. This is the month of quiet contemplation and a time to face ones marauding ghosts that emerge from the shadows and are carried on falls chilly winds—-
Every season seems to have its emotional and psychological landscape. I find myself missing spring in autumn and the freshness of winter in the heat of summer, I’m a discontented soul, always wanting what’s just out of my reach. Here, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, each of the four seasons have dominion over their portion of the calendar. The seeds have been planted and the harvest is in, the metaphor of reaping what we sow is played out—–the nonbelievers burn off their barren fields. A big orange moon reigns in the sky reminding me that the masks of Halloween will soon be donned. I think of all my old friends and how time has changed our appearance, yet I know that their souls are the deep well from which I draw my sustenance. A good song will always be a good song and the steps of a shared dance will never grow old, nor be forgotten.
I keep my hands warm, carrying them deep in my pockets. I’m not sure where I am on this leaf strewn path, I’ve always been more lost then found. A map and compass possess no value when my destination is between each footstep. A low lying fog fingers its way through the tall pines, the branches sway and I listen to their whispering voices. I think of my family and friends and mumble a prayer for the goodness of all. A chicory squirrel stares at me and then giggles as he scurries across my trail—-he knows God’s plan better than I.
I take a seat on a log and plug my earphones into my iPod. J. D. Souther comes on singing, “Silver Blue”. The melody is a perfect sound track to this mystical vista of lake, aspens, pines and fog—what a sublime speck in time.
In all the chaos and madness of life, it can feel at times that people and events have no rhyme or reason, but in retrospect (when looking back after the fact) things come into focus and have a purpose and a reason for happening, maybe that’s faith—believing that the future will workout the way it is intended and that the things in the past have occurred for a greater purpose—-this is how I remember my Mom looking at life. She always saw the positive in all things, even when things were not going as planned—-
I pull a smashed sandwich from my backpack and have a bite. I take a sip of peach tea and have a laugh at myself—
Tomorrow I’ll head south to Hope Valley and wander through those stands of Aspens—-all things change at their own pace.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” Albert Camus