I have to confess that I absolutely love these sunny late September / early October days. There is nothing quite like this time of year. The leaves are just starting to turn and the early morning air has a tangy feel / smell that is hard to define, but exquisite to experience. U2 recently came out with a song that includes the line, "Stolen days are just enough." Feels a little like that these days -- these gorgeous days are stolen from the advancing tide of frost lines and snowdrifts, transitory and precious beyond measuring.
In some ways we would do well to pay attention to these sensations. It is our own lives that are precious, our own moments that are stolen from an advancing tide of decay and death, and (to quote Tennyson) "all experience is an arch wherethro' gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades for ever and forever when I move."
So these September days remind us of the glorious, precious nature of our lives. Julie and I sat yesterday morning with a dear friend who is in the last days of his earthly life, and we all delighted in each others' company and said some of the things that need to be said in love and appreciation and gratitude. Life is a gift.
Perhaps there is a touch of grief in this transitional time. We see the leaves change and we are sorrowful, just a little, for the change of seasons. Gerard Manley Hopkins drove right to the heart of these emotions in his poem "Spring and Fall: To a young child". Mercilessly truthful, he points out the reality that it is not the leaves that make us weep, but it is ourselves we mourn for:
Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
So enjoy these halcyon days, the last of summer, the first of fall. Revel in the treasure that is your life.