In Defense of Fall

It’s that time of year again, when the darkness presses down, and we realize the cold is here to stay.  But if you’re lamenting the loss of warmth and light this fall, I invite you to consider a different approach.  Consider acceptance; consider embracing each season, in a feminist reclaiming of Mother Earth’s wisdom.  Yes, I’m saying it’s feminist to love fall: to hold in reverence the natural cycling of the year.

Try feeling the loss and the pain of this dying time of year, instead of constructing defenses – through complaining, willful ignoring, or throwing yourself into a frenzy of holiday parties and consumptive shopping.  Consider listening to Her whisperings, Her suggestion to go deeper into ourselves.  Find the rest there.  Mirror the early darkness: one evening, light candles instead of creating perpetual artificial daylight; enjoy a quiet evening putting up the harvest, slowing down, hibernating.  Let yourself lie fallow during the dark time, then emerge among the lengthening days with new light, brilliance, and clarity.

One of the ways I connect with fall – and the contradictions it brings up for me – is through poetry.  This is what bubbled up recently:

In the Fall
I fall in love
In the fall
Golden shimmering suspended moment
Walk gloved hand in hand
You woo me with philosophy:
Kant and other deep sounding fellows
Nearing the pond in the arb,
Past the old stone building
I call Yeats’ tower,
And twelve years later I’m still quoting him,
Falling for yet another Maude.

A tearful confession in your ’93 Tracker
Named “Blanca” after your housekeeper in Panama
Forced separation, slipping into the bleakness of the season.
Yet in the darkest month
We find the biggest tree, empty of leaves
Staid, calm, feeling always the return of warmth
In its deep tendril roots:
You kiss me, or you would say, I kissed you.

Another seven years roll on
To the edge of rural, Wisconsin hills
Darkness falls
You find me collapsed
Against her trunk,
You root to me, clasping my hand
And witness to the pain rising out of me.
We find a dumpster
And hurl our empties, elemental release
Yet remain broken.

When Mother Earth hardens
And withdraws her comfort
I turn to you
To shed the yoke of motherloss
To join her in complete understanding,
The stepping stone to peace,
Walking on the graveless graves
Of the bloodiest American day –
Fresh deep blood rises to my eyes, weeping
For sonless mothers, husbandless wives.
We worship manly games of death,
And where is the expansive memorial
To women –
To love –
At the edge of fall.

© 2012, Rebecca Gingrich-Jones