Monday, September 22, 2008

# 2

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn is a beginning, not an end.

I've always celebrated autumn, which begins today, as the beginning of my new year. To do so has perhaps made me a throwback....the ancients took harvest as the signal of a new year too.

As nature winds down, I gain energy. As the natural light retreats I find it necessary to add new flavor to my life. I organize my desk. Review and write new goals. Assess my volunteer activities. Make lists. Clean closets. I'm not the only one. There has to be a reason that this time becomes hectic throughout society. School starts. Every club seems to hold an organizational meeting. The social season swings into action. The markets shift from the August lull, often giving us an October surprise. This year we got a September one. For many, it was salt rubbed into open wounds.

What is it about salt?

Literature and life are full of references to salt. Job says in the Bible ;“Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt? Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?” James Beard asked simply, "Where would we be without salt?"

Many of us choose to think of salt as the flavor that we add to our own lives, while others think of salt as the experiences which are liberally sprinkled upon us as we age. William Shakespeare asked “Is not birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood, learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality, and such like, the spice and salt that season a man.”

If you follow that logic, all of life becomes salt. This morning I pondered this, sitting for a while on my back deck in the shifting light, as a breeze sounded the wind chines and ruffled the still-green leaves. I have had cause this year to pause and reflect on the interplay of light and salt in my life. What does it mean to be “worth your salt?” It's an odd phrase, spoken by the likes of Mark Twain, Andrew Jackson, Tallulah Bankhead and Teddy Roosevelt, to name a few. I am hopeful that being worth my salt means that not only have I gained wisdom and insight from what life has brought me(both the good and the not-so-good), but that I am getting better at how I handle what life throws at me. Certainly I've gained strength.

This year, instead of directing all my energy outward, I am open, holding my breath as the hush that is fall descends. I choose to apply my liberally sprinkled salt to reflect, just a little, some of the light that has shown on me as well. Buddha said “Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.”

©2008 this and preceding blog

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