Monday, September 20, 2010

Running to the goal line

Fall is always too short. Blink and it's gone: one day the sun is blistering hot and the next there are Christmas carols in the mall. Whatever the weather, our autumn frame of mind is less about harvest and rest and more about making everything work before the end of the year.

With the goal in sight, we run with all our might. This has two hazards. The first is that the faster we go, the less precise our control. Some of us end up tumbling head over heels when we run too fast. The other is that sometimes we make it to the goal line, still moving at breakneck speed. Crossing the line is like hitting a wall. We stop abruptly and we hurt.

The goal line is not the right place to make a decision about how fast we should be moving. It's too late. The time to make the decision is when the goal line is in sight and we still have time to change. We can adjust our pace or move our eyes to a different spot on the horizon. The time to make adjustments is now.

You can move through fall so quickly that it vanishes beneath your feet, scarcely perceived. Or you can take your eyes off the goal line and slow your steps just long enough to breathe the smell of leaves and harvest and to prepare, as the plants are preparing, for a rest and a rebirth. We give up knowing that all life is cyclical at our peril. No one trips in a cycle. They fall into winter so they can spring back to full bloom.

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