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The First Red Leaf

The first red leaf greeted me this morning

Among the dull colors of the other fallen leaves

It’s redness smiled a reminder of time passing

A reminder of cycles of birth and death

Of leaves separating from the trees

As the body separates from the soul

We stand and watch the leaves fall

As we watch our own body change

Life within is the only life that matters

The red leaf kissed the earth

And we thanked her for it

Autumn makes philosophical reflection easy. The movement, the colors, the early night and late mornings all speak to change, to preparation, to impending cold and dark. The slow dying of the year.

And yet we know it’s not dying, just moving through the external cycles of life, reminding us of the natural cycles of our own body and life, that we so easily practice to avoid seeing.

What I appreciate about the philosophy of Krishna Bhakti is the invitation to fully embrace the season of life we are in. And the caution is, if we don’t do that, we will be left wanting and scrambling to hold on to something that is not holdable-on-to.

Whether it’s the student phase of life, the marriage phase, or the gradual detachment phase for the later years - if we do them well according to our life circumstances, we are then able to access deeper thought, experiences, and realizations. This in turn enables us to respond with grace and gratitude–and less panic and anxiety–to the uncontrollable passage of time, and all the joys and sorrows it brings our way.

Time does not stand still and neither should we. No matter the season, there are eternal truths to be found. Reach for them, and for Krishna, and all will be well.

“O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.” Bhagavad-gita 2.14


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