I took my usual 5-mile walk through the park today, but something felt different. There was a certain feeling in the air that soaked into some ancient part of the psyche—or at least as far back as some childhood recollection. Crisp feeling, slight chill, a familiar smell that sang of “Fall!” Back home had a fresh apple with some walnuts and now taste joined sight, smell and touch to evoke the comfort of Autumn. A few posts ago, I shared the October Song that sent me to the heart of the leaf-falling descent into darkness and the settling in to the solace of home.
Comfort food. Comfort music. Comfort smells, sights and the touch of the Fall breeze on the skin. We could always use these touchstones in our lives and certainly, now more than ever. It’s tempting to say that once we could just absorb the beauty and not worry about protecting it, but that has never been true for indigenous people encountering the Western conquerors, for our own small farmers in the face of agri-business, indeed, for most anyone in any field dealing with the ravages of time and change and especially, changes imposed by human short-sightedness. But of course, that mandate of protection is hitting more of us, more often and larger than ever before.
But see how quickly our happiness on a Fall day can go off the rails. Somehow I hope we can immerse ourselves fully in it without the fear creeping in, settle down into the hot tub without the tension of the emergency pager going off. Just eat a crisp red apple with walnuts and savor each bite. When the moment calls for us to rise up and act to defend what we love, we will be acting from that love, pushing the car off our child from the accumulated power of life properly lived and loved. Joy and Justice belong together, like apples and walnuts, walking hand in hand through the crunch leaves on a splendid Fall day.