It’s the perfect temperature outside where there’s a slight breeze on my skin that’s so cool it’s almost cold, but not quite. The tips of some of the trees are just starting to orange red, and I can just about taste the dry earthiness in the air and feel the ever so slight edge on the gentle breeze as I sit on the second floor balcony of my family’s house in Hartford, all fortelling Autumn stealing upon us. I’m starting to lose track of time now-a-days, but for the past one or two falls I’ve been in Europe. I’ve sorely missed New England fall — I am convinced there can be no part of the world where the fall season is so beautiful.
The breeze is getting a little more pronounced now. I wonder why I love this fall season so much. It’s not just the colors of the trees; not just the beauty that sweeps through the forests like a fire, but something deeper. As I sit here and sip my Taiwanese oolong tea I’m trying very hard to locate the center of this feeling that is washing over me with the almost but not quite cold breeze. Perhaps this season resonates with me so much because it is very much symbolic of joy in the face of death. Many things are preparing for death in this season, but as they die they do so with such blazing beauty. There is no fear or shrinking back from the darkness of winter coming, but instead celebration and joy.
Somehow death makes joy more meaningful, more poignant. I do not know whether darkness is required from a theoretical standpoint to make joy more beautiful, and I think I dislike that idea from both a practical and theoretical standpoint. However, that said, it remains my experience that somehow, someway, suffering can bring about great depth of spirit and peace. It can also do the opposite, but all the best things in life are a two-edged sword. I have suffered, you have suffered, each of us in our own unique ways, but let us find joy in the face of death. I pray that darkness does not rust me but make me brighter.