“The tree is now lush in the summer morning mist, exuberant in the warmth of afternoons. Through summer, the sunrises and sunsets move back toward the south each day, gradually picking up speed, “falling” south through the autumnal equinox. The tree’s oval leaves turn crimson, a few at a time at first, then all rushing to keep up. Raucous vectors of geese fly, and the leaves fall. Chill comes. The tree’s deep scarred bark seems to become darker as the sunrises and sunsets slow in their southward movement. The sun’s arc is lower, the days shorter, nights longer. Then the place of sunrise stands still again at winter solstice and the tree is once more a black skeleton, dead if you didn’t know better. Then, ever so slowly, the place of sunrise begins to move northward again.”
Gerald G May
The Wisdom of the Wilderness, p80f
The wonderful Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has written:
“the person who does not know how to die does not know how to live” …
Thich Nhat Hanh
You are here
… and I wonder whether Gerald May ever read that? I think he’ll have known the truth in it. Deeply sensitive to the seasons of life, he observes summer and winter, dying and rising, an eternal cycle, “southward movement”, a brief standing still, and a “rising northward again”. Dr May, like all of us, had cause to lean hard upon his sense of life’s natural beginnings and endings, oft repeated. I need to remember “summer morning mist” too. I have to know how to die, the better to know how to live.