Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Good Graces

I woke up this morning to thoughts of fire.

Outside it is gray and the air smells of rain. A few leaves skitter in the street. My apartment is cold and I’ve pulled on a favorite old sweater. It isn’t raining yet, but the wind blowing through the trees makes it sound like it is. Fall is coming soon, and I’m looking forward to it.

Last night a friend of mine equated autumn with grace, with the need to live gracefully as summer ends and the seasons turn towards winter cold, shorter days, and stormy weather. For both of us, autumn is our favorite season. For me, it’s time for cool, blustery walks in colorful woods and mountains, time for crisp days and flashing nights full of stars, time for harvest celebrations and afternoons spent with books and beer at rainy pub windows. Autumn suggests the holidays, companionship, and turning inward and inside.

Autumn also suggests wood-smoke and heat, the crackle of sap and the glow of embers, a tidy campfire reflecting the cold and darkness.

Summer is ending and I spent only six nights around campfires, most in the mountains and one at the beach. Accompanied by friends and sometimes deer, each was a blessing. Every fire is alive and unique, from the setting and circumstance to the species of wood and the patterns of grain. The voice of the flame and the architecture of logs and coals are different every time. To start a fire is to begin something that creates its own designs.

I’m looking forward to enjoying a few more campfires before November’s storms arrive. In the meantime, rain falls in long gray dresses. I’ve missed it and needed it. Like a campfire, and like autumn, it reminds me to take the days as they come with their graces and calm equanimity.

1 comment:

  1. Poignancy and reflection; also a certain sense of urgency to 'touch base' with favorite trails and places one more time before the days shorten and they lose their green-ness, or perhaps to be covered in snow for the next 6 months.

    The rain sometimes makes lingering a more chilly proposition, and the clouds a grey curtain covering ridgeline views, but those last weeks of firework colors of the vine maples and huckleberry bushes always make fall journeys worthwhile. Places like Indian Heaven, and the PCT above Olallie Lake are far more memorable for their fall colors than their summer sheen.