Impermanence is the stuff of life, which by its very definition is change. Nature reminds us of this each time we transition from one season into the other. We readily accept the golden aspen leaves of autumn, the apple blossoms in spring, the crisp frosty mornings of winter, yet fight change in the most common everyday, sometimes insignificant areas of our life. But it still happens, just as life does.
Animals seem to be so much more in tune with nature’s rhythms. Dogs know long before we do when a storm approaches, and other animals, wild as well as domestic such as horses, are quick to sense a change in barometric pressure.
When the tsunami hit Southeast Asia in 2004, there were countless stories of wildlife leaving the area for safer ground long before humans were aware of what loomed on the horizon. One of the most amusing involved a group of Japanese tourists who were on elephant rides. The whole herd of elephants, refusing to be controlled by their handlers, calmly and stubbornly headed for higher ground, taking along the stressed passengers on their backs –the tourists later expressed their gratitude for being saved.
In a time long ago when we lived closer to nature, we, too, were more aware of the moods and nuances —the almost imperceptible shift in a breeze, the change in a bird’s song, the increased activity and playfulness in a herd of deer, the ever vigilant wild stallion turning to snort the new smells that the southern wind carries.
More than any other season, autumn seems to remind us to slow down a little. The heady and sporadic days of summer, once filled with wild vacations and global trekking, are now tucked into our memories, and we seem to settle into the routine of daily life. It’s almost as if Mother Nature is saying to us: “Now is my time. I’ve put on my best ballroom gown. Come, dance with me.”
So as the chill settles into the air, maybe we should all take the time to learn from all that live with and love nature . . . cherish the day in front of you. Our lives become much fuller when we embrace change and remember that it is an impetus for growth. Like the day transforming into night, and the green carpets of the hillsides turning to the rust and amber of autumn grasses and wildflowers, change is as normal and beautiful as life itself and brings its own magical gifts.