It is the season of falling.
Falling down. Falling apart. Falling in love. Falling into step. Falling by the side of the road. Falling out. There must be more falling idioms I'm not thinking of.
Pears are falling. Leaves, tomatoes and sunflowers too.
One of my treasures is a poem by James Dickey called “Falling.” This is the same James Dickey who wrote the 1970 novel Deliverance and also the screenplay for the culturally significant 1972 movie of the same name. At six pages in his book Poems, 1957-1967, the very last entry (I love that), the poem "Falling" is too long to post here. But please read it when you have a few minutes and if you are interested, here, because what Dickey managed in "Falling" is beyond what I can imagine having the skill and inspiration to do. He took a tragic prompt from a New York Times news story, of a stewardess who was sucked through the door of an airplane that suddenly opened in flight, and wrote a six-page poem describing her descent to earth. Six pages. On falling. I almost can't abide its frightening content, while at the same time coming back to its beauty and craft again and again.
. . . with the plane nowhere and her body taking by the throat
The undying cry of the void falling living beginning to be something
That no one has ever been and lived through screaming without enough air
Still neat lipsticked stockinged girdled by regulation her hat
Still on . . .
It's shocking, how a writer can connect us with an imagined experience. My friend Inge said over her Pinot Grigio this week that novels are about loss. She explained that while novels may be sad, or tragic, when we read them we find solace that we are not alone in our own losses and sorrows. I feel that poems are like this too. There are ways to find beauty in loss, in the shared experience of being human. Sometimes pages of a book are the friend we turn to, when we don’t want to explain anything, when we just want someone who understands, even someone fictional.
In spring, the natural world rises. Tiny, thin sprouts and foal legs sway in a breeze and in a few weeks become strong with fiber and bone. In autumn, part of Nature retreats. Even though trees and plants become still as they cycle into dormancy, life is ongoing, keeping on, in a needful rest. If I can, I always want to live where the seasons contrast in extremes. Maybe I see in that a comfort, that I too have wide variations in my self, differing needs in different seasons, be they for an hour, a day, or a year.
What falls, goes into the earth and becomes one with it, even nourishes and feeds it. Decay is as beautiful and life giving as tender green shoots. What we lose is still in us, and can nurture if we let it. Falling . . . living . . .