The Hollowness of Autumn Leaves Space for Light

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 4:00 pm

The Hollowness of Autumn Leaves Space for Light

I don’t know about you, but in a world as jam-packed as ours is with people, action, noise, and “stuff,” I welcome — in fact, I yearn for — times and places of empty space filled only with silence and light.

Here’s a poem that celebrates the “hollowness of the season” we’re in — a hollowness that fills the world “with impossible light, improbable hope.”

“What Else”
by Carolyn Locke

The way the trees empty themselves of leaves,
let drop their ponderous fruit,
the way the turtle abandons the sun-warmed log,
the way even the late-blooming aster
succumbs to the power of frost—

this is not a new story.
Still, on this morning, the hollowness
of the season startles, filling
the rooms of your house, filling the world
with impossible light, improbable hope.

And so, what else can you do
but let yourself be broken
and emptied? What else is there
but waiting in the autumn sun?

As the poet suggests, it’s a season that invites us to allow ourselves to be “hollowed,” too — to wait in “the autumn sun” so that our inner emptiness might be filled with light and hope.

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is a columnist for On Being. His column appears every Wednesday.

He is a Quaker elder, educator, activist, and founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal. His books include A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, and Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. His book On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old will be published in June.


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