We are all traveling through time, indeed. But what is time? Can we touch it? No. Can we hold it in our hands, keep it from unraveling? No. Can we go back? No. Breathe in, this moment, breathe out, this moment. Indeed, we are time-travelers.
I watch the moon, which is shifting, changing, every moment, from moment to moment, through time, also. The moon, our companion, when it is shining, full, in the October sky, and when it is hidden, behind deep clouds. I watch the moon, crescent, as if it is a dish, holding the stars. I watch the moon, full, red, traveling through time.
Each autumn seems to be sadder than the last, as I grow older. How many more autumn days will I know, the air filled with nostalgia? How many more sweet, late blooming flowers, roses, more precious in autumn? Autumn, too, is traveling through time. The plants are resting now, taking a break, which sustains them. We, too, are sustained by these moments of rest, although we take these times grudgingly.
My beloved companion, the tree outside my front window, still carries most of its leaves, but they, too, will drop to the earth. I pray for rain to feed my tree, to nurture this parched land. I suppose the tree prays, too. Prayer is so much more than words. Prayer is intention, and we humans may know intention less than the creatures and the trees.
I miss those autumn days in the Midwest, those days when the nostalgia in my body was so strong, it felt as if my heart would burst with pain and ecstasy. Does the tree know this, too? Do its branches, does its pulse tremble with pain?
Here in the West, autumn is slow, a different pace than in the Midwest, when every autumn moment is precious. Here, the light shifts, to be sure, and the air we breathe shifts, also. If I have a moment of privilege, I stop to know these gentle shifts, these moments, which dance, dance from one season to the next.
I miss all those who I love who live in another dimension, outside of time. Do they linger here in the autumn, also, missing me, missing this place? I don’t know. No scripture, no theological text, no spiritual teacher seems to have an answer that satisfies me, really. All Saints’ Day arrives in the fall, carefully chosen remembrance of all who are gone now, from this place. The days grow darker, and my grief – your grief – is enfolded in the embrace of the longer nights.