“O sacred season of Autumn, be my teacher,
for I wish to learn the virtue of contentment.
As I gaze upon your full-colored beauty,
I sense all about you
an at-homeness with your amber riches.
You are the season of retirement,
of full barns and harvested fields.
The cycle of growth has ceased,
and the busy work of giving life
is now completed.
I sense in you no regrets:
you’ve lived a full life.
I live in a society that is ever-restless,
always eager for more mountains to climb,
seeking happiness through more and more possessions.
As a child of my culture,
I am seldom truly at peace with what I have.
Teach me to take stock of what I have given and received;
may I know that it’s enough,
that my striving can cease
in the abundance of God’s grace.
May I know the contentment
that allows the totality of my energies
to come to full flower.
May I know that like you I am rich beyond measure.
As you, O Autumn, take pleasure in your great bounty,
let me also take delight
in the abundance of the simple things in life
which are the true source of joy.
With the golden glow of peaceful contentment
may I truly appreciate this autumn day.”
— Edward Hays
Autumn is my favorite season of the year – I love the colors and the cooler air, but I loathe the shortening days. The hours of daylight have been decreasing since the summer solstice, but the shortened twilight becomes most noticeable now. No more do I have an hour or so outside after my evening coffee when I get in from work. It’s darker when I get up too, which makes it next to impossible to rouse myself from bed. The cooler nights make wonderful sleeping weather with the windows wide open, and the crickets and katydids still sing me to sleep, albeit a bit slower now. The last few weeks I’ve been hearing the great horned owls and even a screech owl one night very late.
The farms I pass on my way to work are advertising u-pick pumpkins and apples. The weekend traffic heading west becomes unbearable on the local roads through the *country*, filled with people from away who come to pick apples and pumpkins. The summer beach crowds are gone, replaced with these same people to harvest peaches, then apples, then pumpkins. Before long it will be Christmas trees. I’m seeing deer again in the fallow fields and the young horses that I’ve watched grow up on the horse farms on the way to work are gone to begin their training for the racetrack, I suppose.
One of these weekends I need to get to Cape May and spend a little time at the hawk watch there. If no hawks are moving there is always the monarchs to see, or the huge numbers of flickers, or maybe a fallout of migrant robins. There is always some magic to be found at Cape May in the fall. What do you love about the coming season; what magic does it hold for you?