October 4, 2011
"The gentle rain from heaven"
Some mornings, I wake up feeling like that lost raptor in the famous W.B. Yeats poem:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold
This morning, I was that falcon for a minute or so. And I was wondering, if things fall apart, is there something that will catch us?
Then, I lay in bed in the dark, I heard the rain. Shakespeare would call it the gentle rain from heaven; I just accepted that this rain was something peaceful and soothing.
I got out of bed, poured some coffee, wrote in my journal, then sat and chatted with my husband a bit, ate breakfast and read the newspaper--about the Wall Street protests but not about other difficult news; I would wait until later in the morning when I in less of a "Second Coming" mood.
Then I went for a short run around the neighborhood. The rain had stopped but the air was cool, wet and clean, and I could smell the oak leaves, freshly fallen, their aroma released by the rain. Some neighbors had pumpkins displayed on the front porches or in their yards. Car tires slicked against the asphalt, and an occasional drop still fell from leaves and branches. Groups of kids, huddled in hoodies for the first time this year, were making their way to the bus, energized, it seemed, and hopeful about their new day at school, their new year of school and of life.
All in all, it was a lovely 30 minutes. I thought, I'm so happy it's autumn and summer is over. Autumn has always been my favorite season. One of my favorite poems is John Keats' "Ode to Autumn." (Yes, when you're in a "Second Coming" frame of mind, you're definitely in a poetry reading mood). Keats calls autumn the "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness! Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun."
Since there was no sun visible yesterday or this morning, because of the clouds and rain, I started thinking about another tribute to the season, this one by Rainer Maria Rilke.
And maybe I got the answer to my question about what happens when we fall.
The leaves fall, fall as if from far away, like weathered things from gardens deep in the sky; they fall with gestures of renunciation .... And we all fall. This hand must fall. Look everywhere: it is the lot of all. Yes there is one who holds us as well fall eternally in his hands' tenderness.