|(My brother Sean takes stunning pictures of the prairies.)|
Fall. The sharp bite in the air. The crisp sunshine. The days so perfectly outlined they dazzle with their brilliance. I always claim to love summer and I do, who doesn't after all, but fall is more satisfying to my soul. It has a different depth to it than the light, carefree days of summer. I love the vivid colors, the scents of pumpkin spice, cinnamon, wood smoke mingling in the air. I also find it a spiritually deep season. Somber and profound. Embracing both death and life. Allowing us to do the same.
Autumn is all memory. Sense memory. Memory in the heart and the blood.
It's autumn in Canada that I love. Where I come from though, the air fairly crackles with aliveness. Everything is dying all around us but it's such a gorgeous celebration of life. A dazzling, festive good bye. Everything exploding with color, with flavor, everything beginning to settle in, preparing for the long winter ahead.
Last autumn was the first one in eleven years that I had been in Canada during the fall. I was home for my sister's wedding. From the moment that I stepped out of the airport, I was hit with a homesickness so intense that I felt at a loss to explain it. Everything whispered to me. The stark black fields asked me "How can you bear this? How do you bear being away from this place? Why did you go? Come back." And the thing is to others not from the prairies, these fields would be ugly. They weren't the gold of summer. But I've been home often in the suffocating heat of summer when the fields are golden with wheat, brilliant yellow with canola blossoms, periwinkle blue with flax flowers. I looked and saw beauty but I never heard their voices in my heart. Maybe fall is so stark, such a contradiction of vividness and barrenness. Stark enough that I can hear my own hearts longings more clearly.
You need a certain depth of character and imagination to find beauty in the prairies. To those who don't know how to look, it is easily dismissed as boring. It doesn't have the drama of mountains or waterfalls. It has the endless sky though. It has this. That you can stand underneath this sky and see forever. You can stand anywhere on a pitch black night and see all the stars. In the winter, the sky will dance for you. Even in the summer some nights, you will see the northern lights. And you can't imagine how you can breathe. The beauty of the prairies is subtle and soul soothing. You need to look to see it otherwise you will miss it.
You will miss the open, open prairies. You will miss the sky. You will miss knowing your own soul in the midst of it all. You will miss so much.