Saturday, October 17, 2009

Autumn Light

It is clear that fall is all about light. All of September was very warm-- our summer finally-- but it was undeniably fall because of the light. Steve talks about humidity and dry air as his signs of seasonal change, but it is about light. For the first two weeks of October we've had cold and rain-- complete cloud cover, freezing ground, even those two days where snow fell and fell and fell. It felt like November; it felt like March. Without the sun we were unmoored from the season. Green leaves were falling from the trees. The pond had a skim of ice on it. Geese may have been flying overhead, but I didn't see or hear them because the house was closed up tight and I didn't go out much. The transition to the long months of going to the car, the office, the car, home.
But this morning, even with ice on the railing and the lawn chair on the balcony, the sun was shining and it was obvious that yes, this is fall. There is a coppery, metallic hue to everything, and layers upon layers. It is so far from death, this season, even as it portends death-- or maybe there is no death, and we have thought about the seasons all wrong.
Just this morning I finished Sister Mara Faulkner's book Going Blind about her father's blindness from a genetic disease that also afflicts her and many in her family. In it she quotes memoirs of other blind adults, including Stephen Kuusisto, whom I met when he was at a pretty low point in his blindness, at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. He wrote a memoir called The Planet of the Blind and both Sister Mara and Stephen imagine a world rich in compassion and empathy and simple, common-sense kindness, as well as one of rich imagination in a world of the blind. Her view is not of replacing the sense of sight with sharpened other senses, but of seeing the blind world in a new and positive way-- as rich in itself and life-giving. I wonder if we could-- or if I already do-- accomplish this with fall and winter.

There is a coppery fullness, a rich, warm texture, an inner life of fall, to be followed by the quiet depth of winter, that is life itself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yes yes yes
before i read your post i thought to myselself,
yes, it is about the light,
"yes, to those of us blessed w/ sight"

so much to write
so much
to see