I grew up in middle class suburbia in Ontario, Canada before the establishment of sprawling malls and housing developments. At the edge of my neighborhood was a breeding farm where Canada’s wealthiest man kept mares and a few stallions in the hopes of producing great racehorses. On Sundays the public was allowed to visit so I would ride my Canadian Tire bicycle as far as the sidewalks meandered and then some, to spend an afternoon with what was then, one of the loves of my life—horses. The other was the landscape of Ontario. There were gentle rolling hills interrupted by lush ravines and deciduous trees everywhere. And the Don River running to Lake Ontario from seven to eight miles north. And fields, wide open to the sky the perfect place to lie about and watch as clouds passed by, one at a time, or in swiftly moving congregation.
That was half a century ago and now, on the outskirts of the city, 20 miles from the center of an expanding and creative metropolis, I am in awe of what forest remains. Not so extensive but still allowed to flow between habitation and highway. With majestic ease varieties of maple, mountain ash, bitternut hickory, black cherry, etc collect together, leaves shimmying in a breeze, sharing a multitude of experiences that pass by in minutiae and in grand sweeping gestures. They are participants in a vast world of activity that entices the senses and the imagination. Trees, though stationary, have a life force that reaches out to embrace even though we may walk by in ignorance of any such relationship. Trees standstill. We move. Should every human being have a tree that supports their moving about? In some ancient cultures each individual ‘owned’ a tree. They did not own a place, land but they did have a relationship with a specific tree. Everyone knew about the relationship between each individual and their tree.
At this moment I am grateful to hear the leaves of the trees as they speak, to feel the rippling bark, smell the moisture stored deep within the living wood and see the canopy of color that stretches sometimes, as far as the eye can behold. And when the clouds are deep and grey, heaving across the northeastern sky the colors intensify so, and I hear them, like a symphony building to a crescendo just as the rain lashes down. But on the forest floor it is silent.
In this part of the world fall arrives preceded by a chill wind and leaves skipping along the road. Squirrels scamper about purposefully and human beings chop wood, plant bulbs and ready the soup pots. Dawn is later, sunsets earlier and birds and butterflies follow the more southerly arc of the sun. However it is you prepare for the cooler (or colder) weather do so with a deep respect and appreciation for all of nature that prepares with us and share in the oneness, an experience of infinite love and truth. Happy Fall Equinox!