by Dao Hanh
Autumn does not proclaim: The swallows return!
It smiles, indifferent, at those who weep and moan,
Who beat their chests for swallows.
Children, children, be calm:
I who was your teacher
May be your teacher
(with Burton Raffel)
Some moments are now.
Welcome to Fall. The Sun sets quieter now than even in January.
If the year were in a day, now would be the somewhat poignant time of the Sun setting in the West. In January rather, the Sun knows what to do: its dharma, to snap open, born again.
Now, late October, is when the Sun astrologically enters Libra, its debilitation sign. To preserve the flickering light, India has Diwali, the festival of candles. It is also time to celebrate re-invigorating the soil, as every gardener knows.
Every year I am surprised by Fall. Each season’s uniqueness takes time to win me over, and when I have finally embraced it, it is gone, and none as much as Summer’s fall.
One of the most exciting qualities of Autumn is as a harbinger of education. New school supplies and clothes, the cleanness of a waiting classroom, red brick and colorful leaves are all saying “Learn again.”
On the eighth, ninth, and tenth days of Navaratri, happening this week, a specialpuja for Saraswati is performed in India and elsewhere to initiate the little ones into official learning for the first time and to cleanse the buddhi, the thoughtful mind, as well as the books, of the older ones.
Thank you Teacher. Thank you Saraswati. Thank you Autumn.