Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Robert Frost

Generally, the liturgy of my year finds me every autumn soaking in the crisp smell of falling leaves, wondering perhaps if I should allow autumn to replace spring’s life-long position as my favorite season. Then every spring, I shake my head and realize that she will never lose her supremacy in my heart.

But a love of seasons did not come naturally to me, and as a little girl (and even as a teenager) I dreaded the first hints of orange in the autumn leaves, knowing that they signified an end to the vibrant green that made spring and summer so full of life. Autumn meant death, and winter was a long, cold decay.

I wished that leaves would stay just as I wished relationships would. I wished life could be hard and firm, a foundation that did not crumble with coming years. I suppose I wished that life were a thing somewhat like stone. If I had my wish, life would not be life and green would not be green. It is because the leaves fall that we know they will come again, and it is because love can be lost that I know it is eternal.

This past autumn on a retreat to the mountains with my siblings, siblings who have scattered around the world in years past and are all together for now before we scatter around the world again in a few months, I thought about the firmness of life and death and rebirth, the fixity of change. As we watch the new leaves explode into life this spring only to fall in a few months and await rebirth, we know that our loved ones and the entirety of Creation itself have taken part in a story that ends not in death, but in life.
It is a common myth that seasons pass;
For by their very nature they declare
That Life endures while stone and marble wear
Away, eternal monuments like grass
That cooled the Neolithic footprints as
They will my children’s toes, and therefore there
Is little proof of fixity but bare
And savage change itself that years amass.
For what does Autumn prove if not that Spring
Will be forever, or at least that they
Are different ways of saying the same thing,
As if in four-part harmony they’d sing:
Be still, eternal creature of a day,
For Death spells Life in a round-about way.

1 comment:

Christian H said...

I have not complimented you on this sonnet yet. I like it, both in composition and in content. Thanks.