The glory of impermanence

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Sep 11, 2020

Rosie and I took a walk along the path around our property the other day.

She was busy, trotting here and there, sniffing where she's probably sniffed a thousand times before and generally enjoying herself.

I was more meditative, stopping now and then to look at the sky, or the stone wall that separates our land from a former blueberry barren, or the trees damaged by browntail moth caterpillars. It was sunny and warm, a perfect late August day with the crickets and cicadas singing as if their song could prolong the season.

Into my mind stole the words "The Lady has been walking through the world wearing her cloak of transformation." They stopped me, those words, and made me cry, for I instantly knew the truth of them. Somehow, the veil dropped and for a few minutes my experience of that late summer morning was heightened. I was filled with the sense of the beauty of the scene around me and the awareness of its fragility in equal measure. I felt the pulse of nature in my own blood.

We are at the edge of the seasons, where summer and fall meet, and it is the most poignant meeting of the year. We long to hold onto summer, to keep on enjoying its fruits, the songs of the insects and the birds, the warmth and sense of ease. But its passing is inexorable, and we know this, even as we hope for one more 80-degree day, another trip to the beach or outdoor barbecue.

When fall eventually meets winter, we may still be reluctant to go back into the cold, but we are resigned by then, having already returned to the dark. We remind ourselves of the holidays just around the corner, and that we live in Maine, after all, and such changes are to be expected.

The meeting of winter and spring combines the weariness of snow and cold with the hopefulness of returning light, new activity among the birds and animals, a sense of the world bestirring itself once again. We get teased by alternating warmth and cold, mud and snow, but we know that time is on our side as the daylight again equals the darkness and then surpasses it.

Spring can be a tease; sometimes it lingers long, refusing to give way to summer even well into June. Other times, it has hardly begun when hot weather arrives and settles in. We are captivated by the million shades of green it brings, the almost daily increase of flowers, wild and cultivated, the joy of returning birds.

I'll say it again: It is the meeting of summer and fall that carries the most mixed emotions, the greatest sense of "parting is such sweet sorrow," even as we welcome the beauties and rituals of the new season. That is reason enough to treasure this brief period of the year when, poised between seasons, we are pierced by the glory of impermanence.

Sarah E. Reynolds is editor of The Republican Journal.

 

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Valli Genevieve Geiger | Sep 14, 2020 12:15

So beautifully written Sarah! Thank you.

Valli Geiger



Posted by: Mary Susan Hurst | Sep 14, 2020 09:52

Lovely.



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