In the northern hemisphere, the early months lead us into spring, when we experience new life in the natural world. At Michaelmas we enter autumn, the dying time of the year. There is another stream of experience which runs counter to the natural one, which we can experience at the altars of The Christian Community. Just as life is beginning to stir in spring, we experience the black of Passiontide and Holy Week. And in the autumn, the colours of the Michaelmas festival are not sombre ones to reflect the decreasing length of the days, nor do we see the russet red of the falling leaves. Rather, we see the gentlest pink and green, colours that might remind us of the tender buds of spring. Becoming aware of this second flow can help us to feel the reality of the festivals, which embraces the whole earth, with its northern and southern hemispheres and equatorial areas.
In our lives we also experience two flows of time. We die with every stage of life that we complete, and we can find the same forces of openness to re-create ourselves as we start every new phase. Each little death asks us to embrace a kind of nothingness and relinquish what we have achieved. This attitude can make old age a time of discovery and new life.