The Newness of Autumn

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

-Albert Camus

At this time of year, I am always reminded of the Greek myth of Persephone, the goddess who was kidnapped by Hades and spent half the year with him in the Underworld and half the year on earth with her mother Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest. The Greeks used this story to explain the creation of the four seasons: autumn and winter occurred when Persephone was in the Underworld, and spring and summer occurred when Persephone was on earth.

But this story explains more than the formation of the four seasons. It also explores how a mother’s sorrow caused crops to die and her joy brought everything back to life. It also shows the cyclical nature of life: death/creation, joy/sorrow, abundance/loss.

Camus’ quote reminds us of the importance of this cycle, and that autumn, like spring, is another beginning. It is a beginning of one’s descent into the Underworld—the Underworld of solitude, bareness, introspection, quiet and reflection. This is a time when, like the trees, we can shed that which we don’t need anymore: old habits, irrelevant or destructive relationships, and anything that does not nurture us, feed us, make us feel alive.

Let’s embrace this season! Let’s commit to take long walks in the cool air, connect to the changing nature around us and celebrate time alone. Let’s contemplate what our own Underworld might be, what old or irrelevant things should be discarded, and rejoice in the quiet, darkness and, opportunities to reconnect, like the trees, to our roots, our source, our essence.

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