Holy Wild Things
on surrender and witness
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The fallen leaf
has a song in it
one that sings
like a prayer,
to a season
into another life
where ghosts walk,
heads held high
of what was
with what could yet be,
a holy wild thing
right there underfoot.
Leaves on some trees are just starting to turn yellow here in Minnesota, and the sunflowers have dropped their heads. The squash vines have mostly died back, and the potato plants are brown and crispy. All of this decline makes me think about surrendering, and all the ways that surrendering can be right and good. It’s not usually easy, or nice to look at (though sometimes it is quite lovely in the form of peak fall foliage), but allowing something to fade away when its time comes is part of living well.
Nature, and seasonal living, helps me to remember this. Because as the seasons shift, we can “see the beauty that is possible in the passing away; find ease in release when release is the best choice; and rest when life calls for rest.” There are lessons to be learned if we let the earth teach, holy wild things to notice, and to embrace, when we surrender to the rhythm of life.
I feel like I write about this all the time, but I guess that’s the thing with seasonal living. It keeps coming back around. Which is good, because we humans (living as many of us do with the messages dominant culture sends about optimizing, enhanced productivity, and constant growth) usually need refreshers in this subject.
The leaves of deciduous trees, and sunflowers, illustrate this beautifully, year after year.
I’ll leave you today with a short excerpt from a chapter called “Remembering What Was and What Could Yet Be” in Collisions of Earth and Sky, a bit that I scribbled in a journal while sitting out in the hayfield one September evening:
I found I wanted to linger, to simply watch the grass host these long shadows. To witness the flip, the turning of summer to fall. To be one small part of the great wheel, the one that will keep turning long after I am gone from this place. I wanted to meld the moment to memory, to invite it to be part of me, just like I was part of it.
May this week be full of moments of joyous surrender, a witnessing of life, a holy wildness, embodied. Here’s to the sweet darkness of a new season.
Marine Fall Festival — I’ll be there with books to sell, along with some free Poets of Place chapbooks. From 10AM to 2PM on Saturday, September 17, the Marine Fall Festival will take place at Marine Mills Folk School (550 Pine Street, Marine On St. Croix, MN).
St. Croix Valley Author’s Fair on September 24th from 11-4. Join East Central Regional Library at Pleasant Valley Orchard (17325 Pleasant Valley Road, Shafer, MN 55074) for book readings and Q&A sessions with 7+ local Minnesota authors from the St. Croix Valley area.