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Autumn Reflections

"This poem reminds me of how Autumn is a threshold—in the midst of the abundant autumn landscape of color and light, there is also a sense that the grey bare days of winter are just around the corner," says Terri Lynn Simpson, Consultant for Contemplative Programming, Washington National Cathedral Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage.

"These liminal times are like open doorways that invite us to a particular kind of mindfulness where we are aware that we’re moving from one way of being to another. One foot is in the past and one foot is in the future, and in the midst of the two is the present. We can put our weight on one foot or another, superficially living in the past or the future, but true balance comes only when we live deeply in the moment." Learn more about the health benefits of mindfulness...

Song for Autumn by Mary Oliver from New and Selected Poems: Volume II (Beacon press)

In the deep fall

don’t you imagine the leaves think how

comfortable it will be to touch

the earth instead of the

nothingness of air and the endless

freshets of wind? And don’t you think

the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,

warm caves, begin to think

of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep

inside their bodies? And don’t you hear

the goldenrod whispering goodbye,

the everlasting being crowned with the first

tuffets of snow? The pond

vanishes, and the white field over which

the fox runs so quickly brings out

its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its

bellows. And at evening especially,

the piled firewood shifts a little,

longing to be on its way.

In Spring, 2013, Ms. Simpson is leading a religious pilgrimage to Wales focusing on poetry, in the Welsh tradition, which she says is "an exhalation of an experience of the holy, the primary language of spirituality. As we explore the history and sacred sites of this thread of the Celtic tradition, the words of Welsh poets will guide us on our pilgrimage together and encourage us to reflect upon the ways our personal stories and landscapes shape our individual journeys."