A Season of Vulnerability

Making way for barrenness

Most of the leaves have left their branches this past week in my neighborhood. Living in New England, autumn is always a beautiful time for walking and driving around town. I’m not a big fan of dropping temperatures, but the smell of dry, crisp leaves in the brisk air reminds me of childhood – raking large piles of leaves to jump in, stuffing old clothes to make a scarecrow in the yard, and collecting acorns.

As I get older, autumn means putting things to rest to prepare for the winter – bringing in the deck furniture, putting away all vestiges of summer, and getting out the winter coat from the back of the closet. The trees go barren and dormant. I put the bird feeders out before the ground freezes. The furnace goes on. Another year has gone by. So quickly.

Autumn, the season of vulnerability, when the great arms of oak stretch their summer leaves to the wild October winds.

all that has bee life and green is stripped from strong trees, and the tall, wide branches seem to be deathly wounded.

across the lawns in layers like the near-dead leaves; onto the forest floors they fall as if to say: “all is lost.”

this is the season of vulnerability when trees open wide to wounding, when all the summer security is given away to another season.

wiser are the trees than humans who clutch small arms round self, shielding their fragile hearts and stifling future springtimes.

Joyce Rupp “Fresh Bread and other Gifts of Spiritual Nourishment” (Ave Maria Press, 2006)

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