O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
~William Blake, English poet
Lusty indeed is the dance of the year’s 4th child; regaled in glory and reigning in majesty, she’s a darling of the gardener. Because fruitfulness and love run through her “thrilling veins,” those who choose to work the soil know they’ve got one last chance now before year’s end to plant, “to interact with nature, to share, to find sanctuary, to heal, to honor the earth, to leave a mark.” So it is when autumn’s chariots, with pink and purple banners flying or veiled in a gray fog or torrents of rain, enter the eastern sky at dawn, the gardener’s heart is electrified. Then when her crisp days are done and her carriage exits on the western horizon in a blaze of red and gold or is swallowed in the wetness of massive dark clouds, the gardener is left with the satisfied feeling that he’s conjured up or added yet another stroke or two to his beloved work of art. As for what Blake called her “jolly voice,” autumn often sings gladsome odes to joy, but there are days when it belts out threatening, thunderous refrains or croons “mournful melodies.” Regardless of what autumn vocalizes, it’s not until it plays “the harps of leafless trees” and sings the somber song of deep December that both the garden and gardener rest knowing that it’s time to let the Lord and Creation alone perform their miracles, God from on high and the earth from beneath the soil.
A common feast has been prepared at Creation’s hearty tables. Food for the soul, spirit, and mind has been prepared and offered up for all of us. So, come, dine with me there in the coming weeks.