I have had my fair share of breakdowns this past month. School has started and with it numerous new obstacles. Double major, student athlete, employed intern, hospital volunteer, … chaotic mess.
Emily Bronte wrote,
“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”
I have only ever read one novel by Emily Bronte. I was 14 at the time, and it was the summer before my freshman year of high school. The overachiever in me decided to take Honors English that fall and thus “Wuthering Heights” was mandatory reading before my first day.
An individual attempt at reading the book was rather short lived and ended with me crying (yet another breakdown) on our family vacation in Vermont. I was lost with the story. I was sure I wouldn’t finish the book in time. I was going to fall behind in class, fail the ninth grade, and end up a dropout (I can tend to be a bit over-dramatic). And thus I spent the remainder of the summer rereading “Wuthering Heights” with my ever patient mother, sure to understand better simply because she was there. When I showed up for English a few weeks later, my teacher ended up hating the book as well, never understood why it was the required reading, and moved on to a new novel after only a few chapters in … which brings me to today. With few days away until my 22nd birthday, I cannot adequately describe a logical theme to Bronte’s work.
I share this story for two reasons.
First, Emily Bronte was … deep. No easy-read, mind you. Or maybe she wasn’t all that deep but my experience with her work was not exceptionally easy. I say this to warn you. My deciphering of the quote I have shared above may be far from what she ever thought or felt when she wrote the poem, “Fall, leaves, fall.” And thus a new attempt at figuring out what all she was talking about has begun.
There’s a saying, “Turn over a new leaf.” It means to begin again, to create a fresh start. Bronte was on to the same thing. Every new beginning and challenge should be met with the same focus … excitement, an excitement for something new, for something better, something almost blissful, for a future with clarity and certainty. She understood the problems life caused, for if there is anything I do remember from “Wuthering Heights” is that insanity prevailed throughout. Yet still she wrote to treat each “leaf” with encouragement and hope. Perhaps with this in mind, I then too can see my latest obstacles as opportunities rather, causing the breakdowns to end.
The second reason I share my flashback is to show the end result. My frustrations never resulted in anything significant. I finished the book. I never truly understood it, but never needed too either. I passed my English class. I graduated. My crazy antics turned out to be just that … crazy.
Today is the first day of the fall season. It is no coincidence that “autumn” is in the quote. I encourage you to treat life as the quote says above, or at least my interpretation of it that is. With the start of this new season allow each new obstacle that “falls” on you to be an opportunity for a something better. Make a choice.
And as a lover of this season or maybe not so much the season but the idea (living in Southern California has presented a few challenges when it comes to trying to experience any sort of cooler weather change) I am working towards appreciating my changing circumstances and putting forth the best effort in exchange for the usual tears and common breakdowns. Maybe then autumn can be blissful and brilliant.
Happy Autumn Equinox everyone! Go enjoy something pumpkin-flavored.