“Autumn asks that we prepare for the future —that we be wise in the ways of garnering and keeping. But it also asks that we learn to let go—to acknowledge the beauty of sparseness.” — Bonaro W. Overstreet
Maybe autumn has such widespread appeal because it embodies the continual dilemma facing all of us, almost on a daily basis: when to start, when to finish; when to continue, when to quit; when to keep and when to throw away. At least as far back as Ecclesiastes, people were acknowledging that the wisdom of letting go is every bit as vital as the wisdom of holding on. The trick is knowing when to do what.
Although New Year’s Day is a popular time to take stock of our lives, and springtime is traditionally associated with “spring cleaning,” we might find that the fall is a perfect time to clear away the clutter — mentally and physically — in preparation for the festive season to come. As we enjoy the dazzling beauty of the leaves, and then sweep them up or mulch them into compost, let’s observe the uniquely calming beauty of the sparse landscape, and ask ourselves how best to prepare for the future. Chances are, it will involve some storing away for the winter, just as the squirrels are stockpiling acorns. But for many of us (and I would suspect most of us) it may involve letting go of even more than we keep.
OK, so I’m the world’s worst at letting go. But I’m working on it. Today, please join me in appreciating the increasingly rare beauty of sparseness. It’s the perfect season to do it!