In fall, we begin to prepare for winter nights. The autumn winds bring in more than just changes in weather, but a shift in our personal climates. Suddenly, we seek more solitude and more intimacy with our surroundings. Although our cheery perspectives don’t last throughout all the winter months, mindfully we cherish those chunky knits and the smell of our favorite scarfs. Cocoons take over as our idea of fashion and we replace hand holding with cuddled nooks to save our fingers for wrapping around a warm mug.
These transformations are sweeping, crashing in our lives and yet we hardly take the time to notice them. They are subtle, often comforting, like waves upon a beach. The sheer amount of force and noise that continuously washes upon the shore is at once mesmerizing and terrifying. Somehow this lulls us to sleep, much as the transformations of autumnal mindsets pull us safely inside ourselves during this time. We are persuaded into hibernation from our thoughts, but in our transformations we are very much alive, vigorous even.
While we retreat further into ourselves, the way in which we interact with others becomes more intentional. If we are going to move beyond the boundaries of ourselves, it is only out of desire for engagement. We no longer care about connecting for the sake of meeting up or establishing points of cordiality, we want honest interactions to immerse in the solace of another and exercise our own tenderness. In all things, we pursue meaningfulness.
Fall also gives us a soft embracing of our moods. Like the trees, we let our guards fall to the floor. We accept that we cannot sustain a full appearance all the time. We finally allow ourselves to be fully emotional and give ourselves permission to show this vulnerability to the world. We don’t hide the fact that long winter mornings can cause slow unwillingness in our motivation to greet the world. Smiles are far and fewer, but more impactful when they occur. We recognize that the days of basking in the sun have long been over and those visible airy breaths in the cold by the bus stop act as the words we would say if we could only will ourselves to put forth the effort. But our winter moodiness empowers us to be reinvigorated and renewed by the time those first rays of spring begin to trickle in. Fall has broken down our guards in an effort to let winter restore our humanness.
Sometimes those moods bring about nostalgia for the past. I find myself with a mug of tea, or lately an almond Americano, clicking through photographs and older articles. I’m not sure what I’m looking for, maybe a good laugh or just some positive affirmations that I’ve had a great year. The realization that the date is again about to change can do that to you, send you scrambling for proof that you did indeed make the most of 365 days (Was it really that long? Did I waste 364 of them?).
Today, I ran across one of the first pieces of writing that I had openly shared three years ago with those around me (posted below). I can remember where I was when I wrote it, the intimacy that I let flow forth in my words, and the difficulty I had in sharing it with others. I remember all these things. Anxiety didn’t come back, but the empathy over that time in my life swelled within me. Much like when I read stories about other’s journey, I was looking at my own. Being far enough removed from that time in my life didn’t save me from feeling overwhelmed with pride that I had achieved so much more as well as a sense of dispiritedness that I had even been in that position at all.
Yet in being honest with myself, this composition applied to my current lifestyle in many new ways. I could have easily written it today and not changed a single sentence. The fluidity of which the things I write continue to be an integral part of my life completely embraced me. The words, the impact, the meaning transformed themselves subtly into the modern context of my life. And I let them. I crafted them around what was relevant and in that exchange, we mutually transformed each other. Summer couldn’t offer me this private engagement. It is in these autumn transformations that we become closer to genuineness even while we are expanding our own horizons.
I stand at the edge. I know not how to approach this beauty. Standing, staring at the simplicity stretched out before. The waves roll and beckon, impressing on a pull at desire. Yet, under the seemingly translucent crystal of water glistening in the sun, there lays a dark abyss. It contains memories of shipwrecks, breathtaking landscapes, and life itself. It appears so full of energy and yet so tranquil. Below the surface is a world to explore, the universe and its secrets. One step further. To press on or to pull back? The very nature of the tide suggests both.
With each crash of the waves on the shore, the water says, I am powerful. While the water gracefully pulls back, it whispers, It is safe. As the lull of the watery voices break way for the new addition of softly treading feet, breathing is impossible. Could it be the urge to run full in? Or is there something wonderfully terrifying that elicits a beautiful fear. A fear for the unknown, for the abyss, for the current. The current that runs through the very veins of this lovely masterpiece. With one tug, the fight is over. Promises made to never be broken are without chance. Swept out to meet the aquatic queen.
Fear has slipped away now. Only adventure is left. The waves wash around the skin, like a hug, a comfort, a blanket of protection. Soaking in the feel, the rush, rush of the cold water awakens your spirit, your fight, your drive. Followed by the hushed presence of the warm water that quiets the soul with every drop of mist, flooding with peace.
The sea is off in the distance, the shore a mere reminder of the past. I am now in a state of resolution to let you guide me through your flux; I remain safe in your harbor. There is no other point on a globe I want to go or a coordinate within your beauty that I seek to arrive at, I will take you as you please. Be kind and be gentle. The mere strength of your grace could swallow me whole. Faith is on your side. As a ship lost at sea sighs relief at the first sight of your finesse, so I have hope to keep you within my heart, to nourish the seeds of love and to absorb my tears.
There are no words needed between you and I. No need for anything between you and I. Who knows where we will take each other, but there remains always an oath, an affirmation: I am here. In this moment. Completely. Without regard or judgment. You are what I need. I may be in motion. I may wander. But I will return. I am here. The unspoken pact, sealed with dew like kisses upon the heart, by the bay and I.