Autumn is coming, and for many, the changing seasons brings about different emotions, from gleeful Halloween anticipation to that back-to-school feeling that never quite leaves no matter how old you get. For me, autumn brings quiet, reflection, and a kind of timeless sadness.
I can feel in my own bones the bones of the Earth settling in for their winter rest. The sun retreats faster and faster each night and the air has a bite to it, like the crispness of an apple. For many, these are welcome changes, but I always find something poignant and difficult in the languid days of summer rolling into the briskness of fall. I am someone who needs the sun; when spring rolls around, my mood improves a thousandfold. When the last of the harvest explodes with bounty, then fades and shrivels, my mind has the tendency to do the same.
I try to mentally hibernate through the winter, marking off the colder months with bright spots – holidays, birthdays – and not thinking about much else besides the coming of spring. I go into seasonal survival mode. This year, though, I am going to try to be present for the changes. If the Earth needs a rest before it revitalizes and blooms, perhaps I do to. Instead of focusing on simply getting through the darkening days of the fall and winter months, I am going to try and allow my mind to be present for the quiet, the stillness, the cold, and to enjoy them for what they are.
Changing Seasons: Being Present Through The Cycle
A walk through the park today revealed signs of autumn everywhere. Instead of lamenting the disappearing summer, I tried to appreciate the changing seasons just as they were. The cheerful green of the dogwood leaves darkening to plum, the bright tongues of red scattered throughout the bushes at the park. The acorns dropping from trees like fat, organic marbles. The cool of the oncoming evening, and the smell of drying grass in the air.
A quieting kind of feeling, one that I allowed to calm and quiet me as well. With all the hustle of school starting, and with Halloween candy and costumes already loading the shelves, it was nice to be reminded by Nature to slow down, turn inward. To appreciate the changes as necessary, needed.
Changing Seasons: Being Present Through Other Changes
It will be harder to do when winter comes, when the sky is dark and cold by the afternoon, and gray slush lies piled up at the curbs. But I know there will be winter’s own kind of beauty, as well – moonlight on snow, patterns of geese against white skies, icicle prisms, the bright hats and mittens of delighted children, home from school on a snowy day.
Instead of retreating into daydreams of spring sunshine, I will try to soak up what the changing seasons of fall and winter have to offer. To be present and aware, even if it means being aware of my own solitude, worry or discomfort. This awareness, this stepping into the seasons and allowing myself to experience them for what they are, can not only add richness to my year before the freshness and warmth of the spring, it can help me gain an understanding of how to be present, mindful, and ready to learn from other changes, bright or dark, that I know a year can bring.
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