Fading

Autumn

I had the curious sensation of fading, being absorbed into the background, while walking along a country lane in glorious winter sunshine this afternoon.

Perhaps letting go does that to you. Perhaps the mental discipline of letting all pass returns you in a very real sense to where you came from.

It seems that once you have stopped clinging so very fervently to the things which once seemed to attract you, moth-like to the flame, your mind is freed.

I can not say that the sensation this afternoon was not accompanied by a gentle melancholy, but the feeling was not an unpleasant one.

To every thing there is a season,
A time for every purpose under the heaven.

Letting go does seem to become easier with usage. It strikes me there is a likeness in methodology to renouncing an addiction. It’s all or nothing.

I admit to having always been binary, but this time it is irreversible and I’m happy with that. It’s like Alcoholics Anonymous really: the addiction you are giving up is the world of emotion. Or rather the world of destructive emotions. And once you have admitted to it, you are in a sense free.

Happily you do not seem to have to tip out the baby with the bathwater – pleasure remains. Quiet and hidden.

Wife, son and such remaining family as I have buzz around me and I am contented to feel them nearby. Letting them happily fizz and fuss in a companionable sort of way. Letting them get on with their lives, and they mine.

There are so many things I should have done today and didn’t. Nor will I, in all probability. It seemed a day rather for contemplation than busyness.

No global gladiator, I have renounced the power breakfast for replenishing the bird feeder and watching the robin play.  I have left cocktail networking to others and potter through the odd domestic task I was entrusted with, as my busy little wife fidgeted off back to London.  In a rather nice new BMW to which I had treated myself, but which has now been wholly absorbed by my friend. Well, I don’t like driving anyway; she is welcome.

I am reminded of the Ode to Autumn, this lazy winter’s day:

Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom friend of the maturing sun.

Lest that sound too valedictory a comparison, I must state otherwise. I am content to sit careless on a granary floor. Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep, Drowsed with the fume of poppies.

But there is still plenty to be done and having renounced life as you once knew it, it may be easier to take more beneficial pursuit. To see what is around you and who, and to give it and them the attention which they deserve.

To walk in the winter’s sun while there is still breath in your body and a pair of legs able to carry you. To spread perhaps a little of your own newly discovered “gospel”.  To make the world a place of slightly less fear and slightly greater beauty.

Why speak of autumn when mid winter is upon us? Because winter is not yet in my bones and while I may, I will feast still upon the ripe rose-hips, the last of the summer’s leaves and the still warm sun.

Winter is for another day.

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Ronald Alexander, PhD, a mind/body psychotherapist, and the Executive Director of the OpenMind Training Institute in Santa Monica, wrote this about one of the Buddhist “4 noble truths,” i.e. letting go:

    “When we cling to the past or what no longer serves us, we contract ourselves to the point where we’re unable to be nourished and invigorated by the present moment. We have to accept that what’s past has truly passed in order to open up to what the present moment offers us. In this opening we become nourished, refreshed and revitalized.

    The Buddhist philosophy overall speaks well to the theme of “letting go,” and the concept of non-attachment, and acceptance, is echoed in your posting.

    William Blake wrote this:

    “He who binds to himself a joy,
    Does the winged life destroy;
    But he who kisses the joy as it flies,
    Lives in eternity’s sun rise.”

    Keats’ poem is filled with some of the most pleasing and ultimately timeless benefits of the seasonal changes which take place in the autumn on earth, which are unfortunately not likely to be appreciated very well by the modern reader. Rural life in our century seems to be shrinking to an ever-smaller portion of 21st century living, and while the video you posted contains an excellent rendering of Keats’ words, a full appreciation of the delights and melancholy of the season would be difficult for anyone not familiar with either the terms he employs or the experience of the harvest available in those areas. These simple pleasures and ordinary moments are given a balanced portion of attention, without attachment, and are simply witnessed and expressed with a gentle wisdom and appreciation that likely gets much less notice these days, in our fast-paced modern world.

    Your approach feels right and gives us much to consider as we navigate in that world today.

    1. Wonderful reply. Wonderful quotes – I love Blake but that one is new to me. I have sung some of his verse set to music by Taverner which I much enjoyed. I love Blake’s art and was funnily enough thinking only yesterday of popping along to the Tate in Westmister yo have a look at their collection. I have a wonderful copy of thr Songs of Innocence and Experience illustrated with Blake’s paintings. I must become a little more active – I have been rather idle of late.

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