Rudeneja (ROO-den-Ay-HA) is a Lithuanian word for describing when the weather begins to feel like Autumn —
dying, mouldering leaves, the feel of crispy leaves and twigs crunching beneath our feet—the sound of cracking branches and crackling fires in fireplaces.
Autumn is the time of slowing down and musing about what has been and is yet to come.
A time to check in with ourselves and ask, are we where we want to be?
A time to weep, perhaps, but also a time to laugh.
My favorite autumn quote is
“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” (Oscar Wilde).
My version is, “And just like that, summer fell into fall.” It prompts me to imagine summer laughing and giggling as the season changes, not unlike children and adults alike, jumping and rolling in piles of fallen leaves as they laugh and giggle without any notion of the passage of time.
The kindness of Autumn teaches us much.
Trees, the home to insects, birds, squirrels, and life unseen, never consider themselves broken when they lose a limb or leaf or become uprooted; they understand each change is part of its life cycle, an opportunity for transformation and renewed vitality. Have you read The Power of Trees or Forest Walking by Peter Wohlleben? Both inspire readers to understand that we learn to save ourselves by saving forests.
A few days ago, I was gazing out my bedroom window and noticed a singular yellowed leaf beginning its descent. Then suddenly, as if teasing me, it swirled back up before lying gently on the ground with other leaves. Watching it seemed like an active meditation as I thought about how leaves letting go is love in action.
I was reminded of Frank Sinatra singing Autumn Leaves, an adaptation of the French song Les Feuilles mortes (The Dead Leaves). What was written in and between the lines of the original when Jacques Prévert penned
But life separates those in loveso quietly without making a sound.
Leaves know when their time has come and quietly allow destiny to take its course without trying to replace what once was. They recognize that of everything on a life journey, only love lasts.
Falling leaves show us that letting go can be beautiful and gentle or abrupt and harsh, but both situations provide space for healing and new growth.
The kindness of autumn is a season of letting go of unkind energy, one-sided friendships, control, and perfectionism. Let go of everything that keeps us from seeing with our hearts.
Within all of this, the kindness of autumn teaches us that the answer to why we are here lies within the changing of the season.
We are taught repeatedly by the way of green leaves turning gold and red and then falling away that success is not “making something of ourselves.”
A successful life is when we learn how to love and let go.