charlotte in the fall

‘Faced with inevitable winter, what does nature do in autumn? It scatters the seeds that will bring new growth in the spring — and scatters them with amazing abandon. As I explore autumn’s paradox of dying and seeding, I feel the power of metaphor. In the autumnal events of my own experience, I am easily fixated on surface appearances — on the decline of meaning, the decay of relationships, the death of a work. And yet if I look more deeply, I may see the myriad possibilities being planted to bear fruit in some season yet to come. How losses that felt irredeemable forced me to discern meanings I needed to know. In the visible world of nature, a great truth is concealed in plain sight: diminishment and beauty, darkness and light, death and life are not opposites.  They are held together in the paradox of hidden wholeness, a mysterious unity at the heart of reality. But in a culture that prefers the ease of either-or thinking to the complexities of paradox, we have a hard time holding opposites together.  We want light without darkness, the glories of spring and summer without the demands of autumn and winter. When we so fear the dark that we demand light around the clock, there can be only one result: artificial light that is glaring and graceless and, beyond its borders, a darkness that grows ever more terrifying as we try to hold it off’ (Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak).

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