Long gone are the days when September meant school buses and lunchboxes. No more field trips to local apple orchards. Not gone from me is the urge to warm the kitchen with roast chicken with thyme and garlic, to be served alongside cooked vegetables. For dessert: apple pie, spiced with cinnamon and topped with wicked sharp cheddar cheese. A glass of wine? Last night, after a long day of work, some errands, laundry and emptying the dishwasher, we greeted the Autumnal Equinox with a well-poured black-and-tan. To celebrate the equal measures of dark and light. Maybe I’ll get to that chicken dinner this weekend.
For two years now, we’ve attended the Fresh Grass Festival in North Adams, MA. Is this our new Equinox ritual? We camped at Savoy Mountain, a bone-chilling experience on Friday night (temperatures dipping into the 30s). The days were filled with bluegrass music and running into folks that we knew. A glorious drive back home via the Mohawk Trail–trees dipped in new color and the clouds pastel with sunset.
I am filled with gratitude for this life. I do struggle with what social researcher Brené Brown calls forboding joy. I start thinking about losing what I have.
“Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience,” Brown says. “And if you cannot tolerate joy, what you do is you start dress rehearsing tragedy.”
Brown urges us to lean into our vulnerability when we come face-to-face with the joy in our lives. To build our tolerance for joyful experience by practicing gratitude. In my brief reading of Five Element Theory, the experience of taking stock of what we have is very autumnal. Metal. The glorying in our riches and the courage of letting go. Fall. And, the key to falling is gratitude.
Sometimes ~David Budbill
When day after day we have cloudless blue skies,
warm temperatures, colorful trees, and brilliant sun, when
it seems like all this will go on forever,
when I harvest vegetables from the garden all day,
then drink tea and doze in the late afternoon sun,
and in the evening one night make pickled beets
and green tomato chutney, the next night
red tomato chutney, and the day after that
pick the fruits of my arbor and make grape jam,
when we walk in the woods every evening over fallen leaves,
through yellow light, when nights are cool, and days are warm,
when I am so happy I am afraid I might explode or disappear
or somehow be taken away from all this,
at those times when I feel so happy, so good, so alive, so in love
with the world, with my own sensuous, beautiful life, suddenly
I think about all the suffering and pain in the world, about
all those people being tortured, right now, in my name. But
I still feel happy and good, alive and in love with the world
and with my lucky, guilty, sensuous, beautiful life, because
I know in the next minute or tomorrow all this may be taken from me,
and therefore I’ve got to say, right now, what I feel and know and see.
I’ve got to say, right now, how beautiful and sweet this world can be.