When September comes and the weather changes and summer begins to fade into the horizon, I feel it. It permeates my bones and my cells even before it enters my mind or my heart. I feel my body tremble and shake. Without even looking at the calendar, it knows. It works its way up to my heart and I begin slipping away with a sudden urge to sprint to the woods and hide, waiting for it to pass- that day in October that Chloe left this world.
Last year I had a deep desire to take back October. I spent my days around trees touching their trunks and their leaves, feeling the cool, crisp air. I picked up my pencils and paints and created October. I dove right into its center.
But this year I went into a deep freeze, not able to feel or see its beauty. I wanted nothing more than to get to the other side of it. I cried every weekend and became like a China teacup balancing on the edge of a shelf. Only the slightest movement sent me hurling to the ground and breaking into pieces. I vacillated between trying to "fix" myself to just letting it be. I felt the earth calling me on a deeper level so I headed to Caribou Open Space and began to walk. There were too many people on the trail and so I deviated from the trail into a grove of trees and a grassy meadow. I found a place in the sun, somewhat secluded and lay down on the ground. Once again, it did not disappoint, but held me, wrapped me up and infused me with its healing energy.
On another day, I found myself with an extra long lunch break at work. Resisting the temptation to work through lunch, I honored my new priorities to immerse myself in nature, and I went for a walk to a nearby open space. As I was walking down the street I was again, faced with the trees, the beautiful trees clothed in their brilliant hues of fall. I could see their colors but I couldn't feel anything.
There was no breaking through the numbness I felt in my heart. But as I kept gazing at them I heard a voice say, "it's not our fault." This simplistic phrase caught me off-guard, but it kept playing over and over in my head. It's not the season's fault, nor are the trees to blame. I have come to believe that there is an order and purpose to the events of the universe, even if I do not fully understand or cannot see it in its entirety. So, if there is no one really to blame then I needed to look deeper into how I could move through this time. I needed to acknowledge my sadness, allowing it as much space as it needed, but to separate my sadness from the season, as if that is what was causing me pain.
And so, today, I am headed out to find a patch of grassy meadow that has turned from green to brown. I will lay there for as long as it takes to ease my ship-wrecked heart. I will wrap myself around the trees, smell their trunks and touch their leaves. I will go on a "treasure hunt" and see what gifts the earth is offering me. And maybe I will paint. And maybe I will see beauty again.