Fall. I’m thinking there must be a reason why the season bears that name, I dug around to find my answer. I know how fortunate I am to have information at my fingertips. In older days I might have had to resort to digging through the encyclopedia’s shiny, musty pages. Growing up, learning had a smell, and those pages held it. I can almost conjure it, even now. These days I need only query Google.
Back in the 1600’s, the third season was referred to as Harvest. The term itself comes from the Old Norse word “haust” which means “to gather”. Farms generally harvested crops and prepared for winter so the term was both appropriate and obvious. Autumn, came from the Latin word “autumnous” describing “the passing of the year”. Fall, was likely a deviation from Old English “feallan” meaning “to fall from a height”. This year I am finding hope in the meaning of all three. To blend their meanings is to wrestle a silent truth about the current state of things.
I don’t expect everyone will feel as I do. There are friends I know and love, deeply afraid of what lies ahead. I get that.There is no way to see around this blind corner. It’s certainly understandable that worry will grow in that unknown place. But in the three meanings of this new season, I feel something hopeful.
A falling away
What if the growing and thunderous gathering is not the angry mob at all, but the rally call of the awakened ? What if it is this nightmare of a presidency that is about to fall away ? The news these days is like a sticky spider web. Linger too long and you’ll find yourself caught up in tangents and fear.
I check in at set intervals during the day. I have narrowed my choices for information to a few places that seem less sensational, more rational. I return to the practice (inconsistent as it may be) that helps quiet my mind. I choose carefully my time for that, too, so as to capture a collective energy of like-minded others.
I pulled out my paints. I dove into one project, then another, then another. I fold laundry. I clean toilets. I walk the dog. Today I will prepare a different list. I’ll double-check necessary supplies. Make sure I have a stash of cash in small bills. I’ll fill the freezer with food, the pantry with soup. I will be prepared for anything that threatens to temporarily keep me from a more normal life.
And then I will get quiet.
I will pray for courage, for myself and others. I’ll reach out in the ways I know how. I’ll be a good friend. And a good wife. I’ll be a good daughter and sister and niece. I’ll be a good aunt. I’ll be a good human.
We can shine a beam of hope into our current circumstance. We can believe, fiercely, that our friends and neighbors would not abandon our democracy in favor of “getting their way”. That’s really what it comes down to, isn’t it ?
Shine that beam. Even if it feels hopeless and inadequate. Do it anyway. We must do all that we can to ensure that the way forward is clear. This morning, as we prepare to lay Justice Ginsberg to rest, I could almost feel the ground swelling. Even in death, we rise.
May her memory be a revolution.
THE revolution …