It is now October, and the arc of the sun’s light has slowly begun shifting, the days are growing shorter in the North, where I live above the 61st parallel. The mornings present a biting chill and the bitter-cloying scent of decay. Birch and poplar leaves sift onto the forest floor, the roads and even the hoods of the vehicles. At this juncture, it is tempting to want to linger in the amber splendor, or to send a yearning glance back at summer’s infusion of chlorophyll.
Among the commemorations of October 9 include World Post Day, Leif Erikson Day, the Takayama Autumn Festival and Independence Day in Uganda. South Korea marks the day with a celebration of the 566th anniversary of the creation of the creation of the Korean alphabet, by King Sejong the Great. This holiday is known as Hangul Day (한글날). It is also the feast-day of the mysterious Dionysius the Areopagite.
In my house, on this day, I am drawn to ponder and remember the words of a writer I became acquainted with while still practically a child: Iulia de Beausobre. Iulia was the wife of a Russian aristocrat who survived years of imprisonment and ordeals in Stalin’s concentration camps before immigrating to England. When my worries overcome me, when obstacles appear insurmountable, I remember Iulia. My invisible mentor’s writing left such an imprint on me, there have actually been times I have looked for her, imagined her silhouette standing in the shadows, watching over me during my darkest days. In turn, it is as if I sense her thoughts and yearnings, during the time of her greatest anguish, while she was incarcerated, when she had a vision she later described thusly:
“Then came a Voice:
Out of the confines of eternity I flew to humanity as light.
From person to person I flow as warmth.
When the great sun rises in the heart of humanity,
I flow back to the limits of eternity as love.
I am the pivot of the human world.
I am eternity.
My breath is Peace.
Seek in the miracle of warmth
flowing from harrowed person to harrowed person.
Seek and you will find me.”
–Iulia de Beausobre, from The Woman Who Could Not Die
Synonyms of the word, “harrow” include “devastate”, “desecrate”, “demolish”, “despoil”, “destroy”, “ransack”, “rape” and “ravage.” Here I am, nearing the Autumn of my life, my children are graduating and leaving home, and am ready to admit I have come to know the intimate reality of a “harrowed person”.
But this is not the end of the matter. I also bear witness to the existence of the mysterious resilience of the human heart that emerges in spite of adversity. I have sought and found. I am desolate and partner-less, yet–am never alone.
The evening light, low on the horizon, gilds a swathe of trees. The sun, before it disappears, leaves a signature of colors, deepest shades of rose, a talisman of the dawn, a promise to return.
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