After an unusually long summer with temperatures regularly hovering near record-breaking highs, it finally seems that cooler air has made its way to Tennessee to stay, bringing with it the welcome ambiance of fall.
For those of us who are native to the south, or at least have been here long enough for our lives to take root, and maybe even our hearts and soul, one thing we know southerners are particularly fond of, is the change in seasons – from winter to spring, and from summer to fall.
Autumns in Tennessee have a reputation for their beauty, particularly in the hills and mountains, when summer palettes with their verdant colors ranging from pear to pine, begin to gradually change over a couple of weeks into illumined tapestries of yellow, orange and red.
And the transcendent beauty of this autumnal seasonal change, along with its sunny days and crisp temperatures, some would say is a soulful muse, inspiring a reflection of life – the cherished moments, the wonder, the joy, the laughter and the love.
Not surprisingly, as a season of transition acknowledging the ending to spring and summer’s productivity, it can also activate painful memories – of grief, loss or emotional pain that have been tucked away.
In my own experience, spending time in nature has become a sacred space, offering the quiet and calm to care for and attend to emotional pain.
Graciously surrounded with the comfort of the natural world, creature and fern, my heart and soul are nurtured with an uninterrupted flow of the holy.
The included poem below, which I hope you enjoy, was inspired several years ago while spending an afternoon with nature’s hallowed healers and boughs of wisdom, surrounded by grace and the peace of a 9,000-acre park.
Planting Grief Seeds
by Paulette Jackson
Where will you plant your grief seeds
Born in a season dark and cold
where you survived by blindly
tracing faint lines of love
Lines now worn. Thin. Old.
Where will you plant these grief seeds?
Will you scatter them in a forest, some glade
among the season’s mosaic quilt of brown
each patch a remnant of
summer’s dress of green, now faded
and sewn into a winter’s robe of down
Or will you lay them peacefully
beside the Saint of Stone
from where springs of holy water shed
just like the tears you’ve known
they gently trace the etchings
of sacred sorrows
Or, beneath the towering boughs of wisdom,
they are companions who offer their circle
as a bed for seeds of grief and so surround them
with a presence, a comfort, a peace
No, I will plant my grief seeds
next to my joy
for this grace of being human.
Love is worth the loss it sometimes brings.
For love, it carries
sorrow to a place
where the trees can’t see
and only love can be
and I say holy. Holy.
For the Support of Your Life
For the Many Sides of Life
Paulette Jackson LPC-MHSP