the year turns her face
This morning when I awoke, the air was… different. It was cooler than it has been lately, and it had rained in the night. But it’s done that before this summer, and I never felt this, even when the temps were cooler. The crickets were still singing, even as the birds began their warm-up trills. Everything was bathed in a damp, grey, predawn light. The whistle of a passing train sounded mournfully in the distance. A gentle breeze blew over my skin from the open window, and I knew in my heart that the seasons were changing.
We may still have some hot days after the change has begun, of course. All the seasonal changes are really blends. In kindergarten, we mark the seasons with construction paper cut-outs of snowflakes, tulips, beach balls, and colored leaves. And because so many of us, as adults, are divorced from nature, we don’t experience the actual world in more than a cursory way. Nature might as well be wallpaper, mere background. The conceptual four seasons learned in childhood are enough for such a life. Yet reality is so much more subtle.
Mother Nature is a great D.J. who never wants the revelers to stop dancing, and the transitions are flawless and seamless, year after year. Last year, I felt the sea change on August 1st — which seemed incredibly early to me, but then, I haven’t always paid careful attention. Gardening has awoken me to many details I’d previously missed.
When I told F., incredulous that I could already hear the whisper of autumn in my body and soul, and somehow hear it clearly, he said, “Ah, yes. The year turns her face.”
I thought he was being a poet. But this is the translation of the name of a holy day in his country of origin. Celebrated in early August, it recognizes the little first signs, the subtlety in the air, the moment when the whole Being knows: we are moving on to the next phase, and it is all as beautiful and mysterious as ever.