Life and Death on the Autumnal Equinox

Life and Death on the Autumnal Equinox

Today marks the beginning of autumn—my very favorite season. On the farm, the early morning chill sharpens my senses. The flowers blaze in fiery shades of red, orange and yellow, enchanting a dozen butterflies. The freshly pulled carrots release a sweet, earthy smell that reminds me of my childhood. The swollen blackberries fall heavy into the palm of my hand. Peppers explode from plants that have produced nothing but leaves these past five months. The farm seems peculiarly alive.

As I drag 100lbs of lettuce and cabbage toward the barn, I feel the perennial mix of relief, exhaustion and sadness at the approaching end of the season. It seems so wasteful to pull up productive plants to sow the cover crop. There is still so much potential: the purple eggplant blossoms proclaim an unwillingness to call it a day. But autumn is here—the cooling or drying-up season, etymologically speaking. “There is a time to plant and a time to uproot,” says the writer of Ecclesiastes. “A time to be born and a time to die.”

…and there it is—that inextricable connection between life and death. The death of the seed that gives birth to the plant; the death of the fruit that gives life to the eater; the death of the plant that allows life to return to the soil… Autumn marks the death of summer, but the start of the path towards Christmas, and a birth that brings life to all.

Our community has been touched by death once again this week. But we celebrate life: Joe’s life, and the life he brought to others; and the life he still lives, that flourishes beyond death. We celebrate resurrection and hope, the passage of time, the changing of the seasons, the victory of life over death.