To celebrate the arrival of Fall, in all her splendid, colorful glory, and because I have a love for all myths as I have so often reiterated in my blogs, I thought I’d share a few Native American legends surrounding the autumn season.
The Cherokee speak of a time when animals could talk to the trees and the trees could respond because they lived so closely and could share so much with each other.
During this wondrous era, autumn finally arrived and the cold season began to overtake the warm summer days. The birds, needing the warmth of the sun flew south...all but one, that is. A small, injured sparrow didn’t have the strength to travel with his companions. So, in a bid to survive the harsh cold of winter, he began asking the majestic trees, one by one, for permission to shelter in their leaves. They all refused. Sorrow crushed his tender soul.
In a final effort to save himself from certain death, the sparrow approached the pine tree, seeking shelter. The pine tree, feeling the least of all trees, said he had naught to offer but tiny needles. Nonetheless, he welcomed the sparrow to share what he had. And so, the sparrow spent the winter with his friend, the pine.
The great Spirit, having witnessed all, called the selfish trees to council. He berated them for not sharing what they had in so much abundance with a tiny sparrow in desperate need. As punishment, he decreed that from that time forth, when the north winds ushered in the chill, their leaves would wither, fall to the ground, and blow away. All but the selfless pine, who’s needles would remain forever green.
In another legend, the Lakota tells us that in the early days of our earth’s creation, all the animals, and lush vegetation reveled in the magnificent days of perpetual summer. Yet, as time went on, autumn finally began to set in. The days grew colder and the nights grew longer. Having no protection from the bitter chill, the grasses and flowers suffered. They began to die. But the great creator who loves all living things commanded the trees to shed their leaves and provide a warm blanket for the flora. In return, he gifted them with the beauty of vivid color that all that encounter them would know of and appreciate the sacrifice they were about to make.
Glorious Autumn... I bid thee welcome!