Sunday, 19 October 2014

The season of falling leaves

Today in the woods the squirrels pelted me with half- eaten beech nuts and empty chestnut casings and I swear I heard them giggle with delight. As I looked up, I saw a bushy tail disappear into the canopy of golden leaves. Suddenly and out of nowhere, a strong gust of wind tore through the woods covering the hound and I with falling leaves. Soon after, the pelting by mischievous paws resumed.

Autumn may be grey and windy but it is also the season of new beginnings.  Some say spring is the symbol of starting again but for me it is many months before in the autumn when the planning and preparation take place. The culmination of efficient planning is the rebirth we see in spring. Nature demonstrates almost military precision in the way it organises life: each season has a specific purpose and all are reliant on each other. The concepts of teamwork and preparation have their roots in the natural world. Words like symbiosis and synergy are demonstrated in the relationship between living things- whether plant or animal based. The spider devours the moth and one could not exist without the other. The bee pollinates flowers, which turn to seeds and so on. Interestingly, human beings since their creation have brought havoc and chaos to the natural world, which is completely reliant on harmony in order to survive.
Philosophers have written endlessly about conducting self- examination for the purpose of understanding. Words though, cannot communicate what one feels by observing the extravagance and simplicity in equal measure that exists in the natural world. A walk in the woods re-enforces a wide-eyed amazement at how all life is miraculous. This acceptance of the inevitability of all things brings solace to weary souls. Nature cannot be all things but rather focuses on specific objectives instead. The tree comes to leaf in the spring then flowers. From the flowers, fruit form and the leaves die as the tree must concentrate all its nutrients on the developing fruit. The fruit disgorge their seeds and the cycle of rebirth becomes inevitable. If the natural world were to deviate from accomplishing set aims, chaos would descend and ultimately, nature would cease to exist as we know it. The balance on which all living things rely is fragile to say the least.

As I watch the falling leaves I am reminded of the past, present and the future. This is where life has led us- where we've been and where are we now. The lessons of the autumn are the same for all of us. Making decisions, reviewing one’s life, cleaning out the cobwebs, we are all familiar with these clichés. Yet without these much-needed actions on our part, we will not be able to make sense of the future, which comes soon enough. Everything we need to learn in this life is available for free in the woods near you.

Photos copyright SvD.

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