Autumnal Return

Lucy Hinton, 8th November, 2021

People say that the trees in autumn teach us about “letting go”

But the autumn tree does not leave the forest,

nor does it become less of itself

The autumn tree does not lose its core, its community, nor does it die…

Rather it simply drops its leaves, like the cyclical moulting of fur, the shedding of skin, the undressing of garments

It disrobes for a season,

free of adornment,

like a woman who has taken off her flowing dress,

or an old velveteen bear who's had all his fur loved off

The shape is now revealed and honest:

A naked silhouette

The mathematics at the heart of a proof

Perennial, half-forgotten motifs

at last begin to offer

their contours

to our deep imagination

The bustle of summer has turned toward something paradoxically more sober and yet at the same time more porous to magic

The light sparkling wine of garden parties has given way to mead and peaty whiskey

Meals made of salad leaves have given way to sizzling roasts and rich rooty stews

Flowing pastel colours have given way to deep reds, forest greens and earthy woollens

Busy zigzagging travels and sociable excursions have given way to the small circumference of the fireside hearth

Long days of lingering sunlight have given way to early evenings and lantern lit windows

Views that were blocked by verdant foliage have now opened up,

Revealing sparking waters beyond

The trees will soon enough rest into

a well deserved sleep

Perhaps dreaming

through their bedtime of winter

Slowing down, hibernating

Ready to awake in spring

And grow another tree ring

If autumn is a letting go,

it is a letting go of all the paraphernalia of productivity

that formerly obscured the essence beneath

— the fundamentals of bark, root, life, and the soul;

the very marrow from which all else emerges

And thus what some call letting go,

is actually a returning home

To the heartwood

In your chest

And in mine