While walking along Compo beach this morning I watched a bright red ball emerge from the east end of Long Island Sound. It was a little after seven o’clock. I was tempted to stop to watch the colorful show, but walkers don’t stop until the course is finished.
I walked on, staring over my left shoulder, when another regular morning walker approached from the opposite direction and could see that I was transfixed on the bright red ball that was magically emerging from the water. She smiled and said, “Gorgeous, isn’t it!”
We seldom say more than an abbreviation of good morning: ‘Mornin’ If the weather is particularly cold, or windy, or threatening to rain, or unusually warm, we may say, “Bit nippy.” Or, “Feels like summer.”
If, when you’re on the return trip around the loop, you pass a walker who you’ve already greeted, you might say, “Take care,” or “Have a nice day,” or “Enjoy!” It has to be very brief because you both keep walking.
Only on rare occasions do you stop to talk. A couple of years ago one of the morning walkers attended a memorial service I conducted here at the church. He looked at me for a longer-than-usual moment, trying to place me, then realized I was a Compo companion, and said, “I didn’t know you were a minister…” In the course of our brief conversation he told me that his wife was terminally ill, so the next time I saw him at Compo I asked how things were going. She died just a few weeks later.
Autumn chill is in the air – we know winter can’t be far behind.
“Come autumn’s scathe — come winter’s cold —
Come change — and human fate!” Elizabeth Barrett Browning
A moment after she said, “Gorgeous, isn’t it!” a white heron opened her wings and took flight, passing between me and the red ball on the horizon. John Ciardi called those wings, “Two soft kissing kites.” For a brief second the three of us were lined up: the sun in the east, the heron’s kissing kites, and me.
A silent sense of thankfulness floated gently across my consciousness, like a prayer,and in thatmoment I felt connected, part and parcel of Nature, and I knew it was enough – body, mind and spiritwere in alignment – the soul’s trinity.
Autumn announces the change of seasons, seducing us with colors that grab our attention so that wecan be in the moment, so that we might say to a fellow traveler, “Gorgeous, isn’t it.”
The temptation is to stare into winter’s coming cold. But autumn is a season in its own right – not justthe harbinger of winter. Enjoy this day and ‘kiss the joy as it flies.’