I tell you truly,John 12:24
unless a wheat grain falls down into the earth and dies,
it remains just a single grain.
But if it dies, it bears fruit abundantly.
Have you heard the call of fall?
If ever were offered three wishes—
as in the tales of children—
then my desire would be for autumn’s golden graces.
Three unexpected gateways to wholeness,
revealed in letting-go,
falling-down and giving-back.
Beguiled by beautyJoe Grant, Scratchings
we are left to choose
to rise to fall or fail to grow
by fruitlessly refusing to lose.
If I could wish three graces for those I dearly love,
it would be these alone:
gratitude, tenderness and humility.
Fruit of wonder,
gratitude is gateway to joy,
turning lack, loss and letting-go into gilded gift.
Fruit of forgiveness,
tenderness opens the way to healing,
transfiguring pain into passion—love’s long shadow.
Fruit of failure,
humility is the low door to wisdom
growing us back down to earth.
Mirroring the setting sun,
these autumnal lessons are poured out
in resplendent hues, for us to pore over.
Like all presents, they come to life in the give-away.
For every golden gift withheld surely turns to lead
and weighs us down with worry or woe.
Relentless RotationJoe Grant, Scratchings
Downfall to uprise;
that recycles life.
Welcome, autumn’s invitation
to grow by smallness and surrender,
by putting down, by giving away, by letting go.
There is no happiness without thankfulness,
no healing without hurt,
no wisdom without diminishment.
Unleafing by Joe Grant (from Scratchings)
I watched a yellowed,
make a spiral descent
through still morning sunshine.
Twirling translucent, downward it danced,
tacitly visiting greener ranks,
before, ready and ruined,
it slipped earthward to the next station.
Suddenly, spinning free,
how gently it glided
to a final,
muddy rest … (read the rest of the poem here)
As this season slowly strips our landscape bare,
to surround us
in stark splendid death,
may you in thanksgiving
share the harvest,
and scatter the seeds of dreams to come.
And savoring the bounty of sunshine, showers,
soil and sweat, may you seed peace, sow forgiveness,
leave the leaves and let go!
Text and Images by Joe Grant © 2021
Scratchings invites one to explore a world of meaning delving deep beyond the surface to something truly human, truly spirit, truly personal. Challenged to ask the hard, difficult questions, the ones that come when you are deep in silence, or tending a garden, I found that Scratchings takes you on a path not necessarily where you will find the answers but to a profound engagement in the on-going and evolving search for truth. Your own. Touching a yesterday that opens gently into a tomorrow. A safe place to remember. A wonderful place to Dream.
- Sr. Sue Scharfenberger, osu, Lima, Peru. A dreamer of sorts.