We must learn how to walk with God on the ground of our own lives, how to meet with him in our kitchens and neighborhood sidewalks and backyards. – Christie Purifoy
We’re on the cusp of magic. You can feel it in the air – that crisp delicacy as you step out in the morning, those half-bronzed leaves twirling on the tips of trees. The days are mixed up now, some offering the promise of an eternal summer, others reminding you that something else is coming. Under the surface of our day-to-day activity there is a stirring. An unspoken expectancy, echoes of nostalgia. Fall is almost here.
So many days I feel tumbled, out of sorts. The tasks get lined up in a row and scoot me forward, one to another to another, and I lose a sense of where I am. I let activity and duty be my driving forces, the things that define my place. But there are days I lose my footing and I wonder where I am and if this life has any more purpose than jumping from one point to the next.
Before this capricious teetering knocks me over entirely, I open my front door and I put both feet on the ground in front of me. I look up and see the sky above me. The piercing blue of the sky, the brilliant pinks and golds as the sun rises, then sets, the clouds that fill it – boisterous one day and mere wisps the next. I inhale, catching the scent of the fallen leaves, the only time that death smells sweet. I take a take a few steps and look down at my two feet standing firm upon the earth. The earth that will soon be littered with red and yellow and orange, crunching beneath every footfall. The earth that gets harder with each chilly night, and then softened again by the still-hot afternoons.
The season catches and binds me in the present. It holds me fast in the swirling bustle of continuous work. In a life of never-ending to-do lists and urgent tasks and deadlines nudging at my soul, the seasons stand there like an anchor, steadying my shaky feet firmly on the ground.
There is a book sitting on the shelf beside my couch, the shelf of my current reads. It stays there all year, finding a home among all the other library books and new releases. The cover reads Roots and Sky, a story of seasons and home and grounding yourself in both. I take it from the shelf between piano lessons, at the end of evening yoga, on quiet Sunday afternoons. I read where the author was in September, in February, in April, I mark my time along hers and we travel through the seasons together. As one month ebbs into the next, Christie Purifoy’s words follow me, giving me a chance to steady my wavering feet, to ground myself down into the right-now season. I watch her traveling through a year in her life, I see her surroundings change and grow and bloom and fade, and I feel my legs sturdied underneath me.
Of all the traditions and habits my mom established in my childhood home, there is one that I’ve kept particularly close. We welcomed every season with intention. They were a holiday in our home, celebrated with hot chocolate for winter, limeade for spring, root beer floats in the summer and a mug of steamy, spiced cider for fall. But before the much anticipated drinks we walked. Not far or fast, but we put our feet on the ground and moved through our surroundings as the sunset, as one season became another. Here we are, these walks reminded us, in this specific place and time. Here are the leaves getting crisp, the snow accumulating in drifts, the buds just breaking out, the grass becoming vibrant green. Here we are, here is our season. Let us be here.
My mom is now a hundred miles away but tomorrow I pull on my shoes and I put my feet to the earth and I root myself in the season I’m in, I become rooted and steady here, in fall, in my right-now life. And then as that crisp autumn moon rises I will sip cider with caramel drizzled on top, I will pick up that book from the shelf yet again, and I ground myself in this season.