Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Canadian Fall

An early morning japa walk turned into a leaf-picking expedition, that evolved into a photography session. I am in awe of Autumn right now.

In South Africa, particularly Durban, the leaves turn brown and then drop off, all rather unceremoniously.

But here in Canada, it is as if the Demigod of Seasons (and surely if there are 33 million demigods, there MUST be a demigod of seasons:) has used the trees as his (or her) canvas, and painted the leaves using red and orange paint, in every possible shade the two colours may create.

Burnt oranges, rusty reds, golden yellows. I think the photos do a better job of portraying the variety of rich and vibrant colours fall has produced.

Coming from a country where the seasons blend into each other unnoticed, where one day can produce 4 seasons, it's a pleasure to be in a place where each season comes with its own unique characteristics and mood. Fall, with it's crisp, cool air and warm colours, seems a time to be outdoors, to be thoughtful, creative and meditative, a period of winding-down after a fast-paced summer. It inspires those things in me, at least.

And while it does precede my least favourite Canadian season, I am determined to take advantage of the rest of it's good qualities.

There is a beautiful description of autumn in the Krsna book, full of wonderful analogies:

"Everything becomes naturally beautiful with the appearance of the autumn season. Similarly, when a materialistic person takes to Krsna consciousness and spiritual life, he also becomes as clear as the sky and water in autumn. The autumn season takes away the rolling of dark clouds in the sky as well as the polluted water. Filthy conditions on the ground also become cleansed. Similarly, a person who takes to Krsna consciousness immediately becomes cleansed of all dirty things within and without. Krsna is therefore known as Hari. "Hari" means "he who takes away." Krsna immediately takes away all unclean habits from anyone who takes to Krsna consciousness. The clouds of autumn are white, for they do not carry any water. Similarly, a retired man, being freed from all responsibility of family affairs (namely, maintaining the home, wife and children) and taking completely to Krsna consciousness, becomes freed from all anxieties and looks as white as clouds in autumn...Because of the appearance of the autumn season, the water of the ocean becomes calm and quiet, just as a person developed in self-realization is no longer disturbed by the three modes of material nature...During the daytime in autumn, the sun is very scorching, but at night, due to the clear moonshine, people get relief from the day's fatigue. If a person takes shelter of Mukunda, or Krsna, he can be saved from the fatigue of misidentifying the body with the self. Mukunda, or Krsna, is also the source of solace to the damsels of Vrndavana. The damsels of Vrajabhumi are always suffering because of separation from Krsna. When they meet Krsna during the moonlit autumn night, their fatigue of separation is also satiated. When the sky is clear of all clouds, the stars at night shine very beautifully; similarly, when a person is actually situated in Krsna consciousness, he is cleared of all dirty things, and he becomes as beautiful as the stars in the autumn sky...During autumn, the moon looks very bright along with the stars in the clear sky. Lord Krsna Himself appeared in the sky of the Yadu dynasty, and He was exactly like the moon surrounded by the stars, or the members of the Yadu dynasty...In Vrndavana the autumn season was very beautiful then because of the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna and Balarama."

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