Love Songs to the Ladies: The Autumn Mother
She reeks and withers. She opens, opens, comes apart along the fault lines. She lets go. She lets loose. She falls.
This is what She can teach you, and if She can’t teach you, She’ll push you. You get out of nothing alive. Not if “alive” means “intact.” You rise from no bed, cross over no threshold, shake off no season, the same thing that you were before the rising, the crossing, the shaking. You are pieces, held together by intention, and illusion, and from time to time (and always at this time) you fall apart.
You are never not broken, but this is the season when you break.
She is fine with your terror. The loss of structural integrity should feel like that. Does feel like that, to countless beings falling into structurelessness, all the time. If your terror helps uncover your compassion for them, so much the better. But if you cling to your anger about your fear, if you refuse, stubbornly to soften, She’s fine with that too. Hers is the great, patient strength of Water. She’ll break you down.
She’ll also hold you up, if you trust Her. If you relinquish Control (which was never more than an illusion you know you know you know so hush hush put it down) she will take it from you gently, like the toy it always was, and rest you in the waves to float. You will float. The Water of this season is the Water made from the tears of all the world. So much salt will not suffer you to drown.
Her gift is not the peace of relinquishment. Not yet. What is Hers to give is a harder boon to love, it’s the way you feel as your fingers peel, one by one, in ancient agony, from the thing they clutch as if your whole life depended on it. To Depend: To Hang. Imagine you are hanging over an immense gulf, clutching at a branch, maybe, or some finger-hold on a rock face, beneath which there is nothing but your body and the space it will fall through.
Then imagine letting go.
There is a sweetness, when you stop fighting. When your eyes close and your shoulders drop and you release your fingers – your aching, bleeding fingers – from their impossible task. That sweetness is Her kiss. If you let it, it will follow you all the way down to the bottom. Where you will break.
You will break apart along every seam that is no longer sound. That’s how you’ll know what pieces to save. What pieces to dig down into the Winter Earth with, that will become the seeds of new beginnings in the Spring. Because ever since Summer’s burgeoning She has been doing this work in secret, testing the seams, prodding the edges, finding the places inside you that are dead and dying, teasing them out into the open, readying them to split, wide, in this season, to rot and reek, to decompose beyond deniability.
She will show you everything that is not working, in your life. She will make those things impossible to ignore. And when you fall, those rotted places will break open, decay, sprout mushrooms, feed insects, compost themselves into a home for new Life. Other Life. No longer yours.
Because She Rots, you will break clean. You will know, at the end of this season of falling and flensing, you will know, when the snow begins to fall, what to re-invest in, and what to relinquish. This is the wisdom of decomposition. The components that compose you detach, de-tangle, the symphony of your life just notes now… notes you can reassemble into a new song. Because She Rots, because you break, you can leave those rotted pieces behind. You don’t have to pick everything back up again. That’s the gift of the Fall.
She Rots. Break open. Welcome Autumn.
*Image: Expansion by Paige Bradley (paigebradley.com)
This post was written by Laurie Dietrich