These days we are walking with a company of four in the Lake District in Northern England. The weather is mostly good, especially for this time of year. The mountain tops are covered in early snow, while the trees in the valleys still hold on to their last leaves. It is a big and beautiful contrast when you start walking from the valley into the mountains. The landscape, the autumn season, the weather; they invite you to reflect on the passing of life and of life’s phases. It is almost like Mother Nature herself invites you to do this, by sending you the lovely images of sun on the fallen leaves, the late berries, the cold feel of the fresh snow, the crisp wind in your face. It causes me to think of ‘things that end’, of life that passes.
The phase of life that I seem to be going into now gives me thoughts like that. I sometimes feel, at this age of 59, that I am entering a new next phase in my life. It is an awareness of mortality and of life that slowly but surely leads to an end. These days, many times I feel like the empty husk of the chestnut that I wrote about a while ago. Empty, its fruit gone and slowly decaying. Yet through this seasonal movement I also know that I am connected to the bigger world, to the eternal energy and the cyclical movement of nature. This bigger movement of nature that is reflected inside our own smaller being. Inside as outside. It gives us the reassurance that things may and do pass, but they also reappear. It makes it easier to come to terms with saying goodbye when you feel that you are part of everything, when you know that the eternal cycle is also repeated inside of you. Mother Nature takes care of her children. I think in part that is what it means to be human; the certainty and feeling of mortality combined with the intuitive knowledge and experience of eternity.
Humanity also has the power of humor….