Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Autumn Leaves 1879

Sometimes we walk on the fallen autumn leaves, or we ignore them, or we might even curse them while raking. But here, Levitan seems to honor the Autumn Leaves, glad for the lesson they hold for us. 

While a great maple can drop upwards of 200,000 leaves in the autumn time, there are lots of people who have created a lifestyle of holding on and never letting go. And of course, there will be many reasons for that: the anxious child who can't let go of the blanket or stuffed toy, the person who grew up in poverty who, though she could now well afford it, hasn't bought a new bed pillow in over forty years. The person who enjoys the power of holding onto resentments.

But as we're looking towards the Easter-Feast of new life, we could perhaps have an inner look at what might be surrendered so to live more full, free and authentic human lives. Christ's Resurrection life - freed of the tomb's confines, is about me too.

Like Levitan's Autumn Leaves, I might have a look around and let go of what's not needed anymore:

  • Let go of old defenses.
  • Let go of old ideas about myself. Get a new idea!
  • Let go of past mistakes.
  • Let go of dated and worn out ideas of other people.
  • Let go of anxieties and fears that don't serve me well.
  • Let go of naive and childish religious ideas that keep me from real spiritual living.
  • Let go of the old victim-wounds I rehearse over and over.
  • Let go of the partisan and cultural labels we slap on people.
  • Let go of the judgments we make out of (if we're honest) ignorance and blindness.

Some people wouldn't know what to do with themselves if they started living this way. Without all the holding on, "What would be left of me?" Let go and let God, AA says.  The psalmist says it this way:

Why are you cast down, my soul,
why groan within me?
Hope in God; I will praise him still,
my savior and my God.
Psalm 42:11,12


  1. These things are hard to let go of. We hold on to old resentments which cause us to decay from the inside out, like the blanket of leaves that has fallen on the path.

  2. Resentment is probably spiritual enemy #1. Any alcoholic with a program would tell us that.

  3. This is the second Lenten go around for me with Pauca Verba, having been directed to this blog the Christmas before last. I really appreciate the thoughtful way in which you approach Easter each Lent. The journey never feels forced or boring, but rather it is challenging and thought provoking. The letting go is so important for me and I need to be reminded to do so once in awhile. Spring brings an awakening.

  4. It is a journey, isn't it? I expect that's why Levitan features roads, paths and trails so often in his paintings. Blessed Holy Week.

  5. Hope in God is all that we have. I try to let it fill me with joy, if not consolation. Hope revives the soul with the thoughts of what Christ will do to dry my tears so I can laugh again.

  6. That's right. Hope doesn't mean, "Oh, I hope it doesn't rain on my birthday," or "I hope I get a raise." That's wishing. Hope is the virtue that says: God will act. I want to live in hope too. "As we wait in joyful hope..." we pray at Mass.