Sunday, September 29, 2013

Autumn and Letting Go

Guest Post by Lynn Shattuck, a writer in Portland, Maine
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Fall is my favorite time of year. The humidity and sweat of summer recede. I love the bite of the air in the morning, a trace of frost.

We take the kids to fairs. We watch pumpkins sprout up, brightening doorsteps. We sip apple cider. I run in the nearby cemetery, which will soon grow a crunchy carpet of leaves.

Fall is cinnamon and light wind on my cheeks. A knit scarf tickling my neck.

Back in Alaska, where I grew up, the trees didn’t put on the show they do back east.  

But the salmon did.

Every year, my parents took my brother and I to see the Sockeye salmon that spawned in the rushing streams. They came from the wide seas, where their bodies had been silver, and they made their way back to the same streams where they had hatched.
Like the leaves, the bodies of the salmon brightened. They turned rouge and green to attract mates. They laid their eggs, fertilized them, and died. Their bodies became part of the soil and water near the nests of their offspring, who they would never meet.

I love pumpkin patches and apple picking and fairs. I love the whimsy of Halloween, where for a day, we get to don costumes and wigs and pretend we’re someone else.  

But with all this blooming and dying, whether it be leaves or salmon, autumn, for me, is also a reflective time. A time to shake off the looseness of summer. A time to get cozy, and also a time to think.

The blazing leaves and my childhood memories of the salmon, who give themselves away to the cycles of the earth, always remind me to let go. They remind me to shrive myself of what no longer works, what no longer serves me.

And for me, there is always plenty to let go of. Plastic bins overflowing with toys, too many appointments, outgrown clothes. The urge to know what’s next for my career, my family, the weather.  

I’m trying to channel the courage of the salmon, the trust of the trees. To let go.

What does fall mean to you? What might you let go of?


  1. "Fall is cinnamon and light wind on my cheeks. A knit scarf tickling my neck." And cozy fires, cold nights and brisk, crisp mornings with hot coffee or chocolate, and warm days. Like the Fall, we must dress up in layers.

    Beautiful post. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Intrigued! I love all the things you mentioned. Happy Fall!