This evocative piece was written by a native sister in Montana. Shelley Bluejay beautifully expressed my own thoughts about the unfolding of this particular Autumn. I liked it so much that I wanted to share it here, with the author’s kind permission as always:
Walking today along the stream there was no sound but the humming of life in all its simplicity. The golden aspen leaves whispered in sporadic soft winds, the lapping of water upon ancient stones accompanied the twittering robins flitting about the hawthorn bushes eating the ripe berries….but that was all the sounds to be heard this quiet morning. Two doe white tails and their little fawns seemed intrigued at their human companion in the woods and followed not too far away and the ravens danced about the sky above us. Logs were moved and ripped open by visiting bears and I rested in the midst of large matted grass beds where the moose have taken their rest here.
Such peace and connected atmospheres are so rapidly disappearing on Earth. I am so very honored to dwell here in the midst of the wild things. Many people look at Autumn as a dying time where plants dry and wither to brown, the blooming flowers with their accompanied bees and butterflies vanish and the quickness of life in the growing time of Summer quickly evaporates into chilled air. Having lived so much of my life outdoors in the wilderness, I thought that I understood Autumn very well and that I had come to be accustomed to the change held within it all. For some beautiful reason this year, all my preconceived notions are gone. I have begun to look closely at this time and all the inter-connected activity that occurs within the web of life in the Autumn season on the mountain.
There is a flurry of activity in this season that can go unnoticed unless you slow down to observe it all. Gathering of all the remaining food and denning materials needed for long hibernation seems the focus of the chipmunks and other burrowing ones. The bears eat non-stop to build fat reserves, as do the moose, elk and deer that eat everything green and lush before the harsh long winter snows. Birds begin their migrations and those brave enough to share the deep snows and long months of winter here on the mountain also are eating all day long.
The beauty in the simple things like the red fox appearing for a visit and suddenly showing off a thicker fur coat, the longer fur growing daily on the horses shows that nights frosts are triggering their bodies to prepare for bitter cold as well. Ants are now going deeper into their mounds and the creek too seems to slow its constant rushing to a quiet trickle. The antler velvet found on the bushes and trees are also a marker for this season when the elk, deer and moose begin their mating season and scrap the velvet off to leave only shining antlers afterward.
There is a sense of preparation this year more than others. Perhaps I am just getting old and knowing that there may never be enough time to spend wandering these quiet places observing the smallest things in creation before winter. Perhaps there is a message woven here for those who would pause long enough to listen. Our Elders have long spoken of coming times when the Earth herself would prepare for a new time. I cannot say for sure but this season out of all the 47 Autumns I have walked amongst the wild things seems to be speaking differently. Our traditions have always included celebrating the transitions of seasons and new periods in our lives when things were changing. I feel this change very deeply this season….this year and in this place…Earth and all her creatures seem to be mirroring that as well.
I wish that everyone could have a peaceful day like mine today where there was no interruptions by ringing phones, blaring sirens, traffic noise, neighbors or the constant humming of even the electricity around them. How I wish that each person had such a peaceful place to spend the time to simply watch life as it happens….slowly, quietly, and where a memory is caught forever in your heart and mind because it is the senses alone savoring the moment. I smiled today at such a memory when the sweet smell of autumn leaves on the ground beneath my feet mixed with the bright scent of meadow wild mint that had still enough fragrance to lift after I brushed against it. How many Autumns I have spent walking amongst the leave…listening to the hushed arrival of Autumn and savoring each sight, smell, sound and feeling that gathered with me to enjoy the passage to a new season.
I have always loved the description given to Autumn by Emily Dickinson:
“And thus, without a wing, Or service of a keel, our Summer made her light escape, Into the beautiful.”
I wish each of you a glorious Autumn and pray that you will get a moment of peaceful bliss among the wild ones and in the company of Earth’s creations.