I silently saunter through the allee of Callery Pears. These 20 to 30-foot deciduous trees were planted decades ago on both sides of the main thru-way directly in front of the mall in which I work. For the longest while, I didn't know what kind of trees they were. Then I went into our Barnes & Noble, and perused the Sibley Guide. Not only did I find the arbor's identity, I discovered that they were actually planted all around the property! (The younger trees' unblemished barks make them appear slightly different from the maturer pears, with their furrowed trunks.)
While their summer foliage was dense and dark, their small, rounded leaves are now--by turns--bright orange, and yellow; firebrick and wine-red. Patches of plum and sienna make appearances too, as well as scatterings of latent verdancy in their innermost leaves. Even the trees' whitish, winter buds add to the array of autumnal resplendence.
I continue along the sidewalk, squarely in the middle of doing my morning patrol. As a security officer, one strives to run balance of being approachable, yet authoritative. But, ultimately, there is no person is here. The variegated leaf-light and the shimmering sounds of crisp foliage in the buffeting breezes occur wholly in presence. Instead of me walking, it feels as if I am steadily and quietly being paraded-through.
Sri Atmananda (Krishna Menon) wrote that there are three spiritual graces: 1. To be born a human being (as such, you have the ability not only to know that you exist, but to know that you are Existence proper); 2. To have a keen desire for awakening to your natural state; and 3. To be able to talk with someone who has recognized his or her ever-present Reality.
I would tentatively add a fourth benevolence (at least for this particular body/mind): To feel the depth and beauty of the seasons. This, of course, is more than mere leaf-viewing or taking some moment to enjoy the redolent scents of April flowers. For to be able to fully revel in the multitudinous changes in the rhythms of the year, you must first know that which Does Not Move. It is only with the recognition of this beginningless Background that you are truly made speechless by, say, the hushness of a snow-ladened yard or the turquoise horizon of some summer seascape.
Though it is December's end, the Callery Pears provide a perfect motley of fall-like hues. Like the silence and spaciousness in which these colors are occurring, they are graces all.