Seasonal Openings and Continuity

September 6th, 2013

I experienced a wonderful sense of quiet power and continuity when I visited the Indian Circle at Potomac Overlook Park in Arlington. Yes, the park at its edge does look out over the river. The Indian Circle Garden is in the interior of the park. There is a post at each major compass point in a circle and a tree in the center of those compass points in middle of a planted area. A path leads from the tree, through the plants to each post for North, East, West and South.


I stood next to the tree with my back to it and faced each direction in turn, trying to sense its power. Closing my eyes as I faced North I thought of North as the point we steer by, the point that gives direction and meaning and I felt it giving direction to me and my life. I felt a strong pull. I then faced East, thinking of it as new light and Spring. I felt freshness and possibility and new life. I then faced South, thinking of it as Summer and flourishing. I felt warmth and intense light and fullness. I then faced West, thinking of autumn. The first thing I felt was that I carried with me the directional pull of North, the new possibilities of East, the warmth and flourishing of Summer. I experienced Autumn with amazing fullness because I carried all the others with me, feeling a basking in the softer light of autumn and an overflowing, a happiness to share.

Being in the autumn of my life, this experience was very personal. I reflected that I have not lost all the strengths that the other seasons have to offer but am now in a new fullness with new capacity, perhaps less exuberant yet lively in a more complete way.

My garden is a little less philosophical, I admit. While a few plants are now in flower after waiting all summer for this moment, others are beginning to fade. And leaves are already falling from the willow oaks, although they will wait until December to assume their wintry stark beauty. The Farmer’s Market continues to bring us the earth’s bounty.

A friend of mine just today quoted Walt Whitman, and it is apropos here:

“Youth, large, lusty, loving—–youth full of
grace, force, fascination.
Do you know that Old Age may come after
You with equal grace, force, fascination?”

I am happy to see this as a time of richness.

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