Saturday morning when I let the dogs out, I was greeted by the sun hanging just atop the back yard fence, casting long shadows over the sparkling grass. I’m sure it wasn’t the first frost of the year, but it was the first one I really noticed.
Autumn seemed to take her time this year, unfolding her brilliant colors with leisurely exhibitionism. But now we’re teetering on the brink of winter: the frost on the grass in the morning only one messenger of our descent into the shadows. The longest night is near.
This time of year I always struggle with the tension between my urge to fold inward and listen to the whispers of nature’s darkness and society’s demand to throw myself into enthusiastic celebration. Poised here between morning’s gorgeous light and night’s glittering frost, I find myself groping for some middle road, some balance between hybernation, responsibility, and celebration.
The dogs are untroubled by my inner conflict. They chase a squirrel, sniff the leaves, run a lap or two around the yard and bark at a crow. Then they come back inside and fall asleep on the couch, snoring or twitching as they pursue something in their sleep.
It might be all right to just stop it for while. Stop thinking about it all so much, stop trying so hard. Let myself enjoy my friends and family and animals. Appreciate the beauty of yellow leaves on a late fall morning. Just breathe for once.
I’m not very good at this. But maybe I’ll try.