It is the beginning of September, as I step outside early one morning. I notice the familiar smell, that to me, means Summer is ending and Autumn is emerging. I am not sure what causes this smell but it lays heavy on my heart and melancholy feelings follow it. Like so many other people, I disliked the darker months of the year, after all, what is there to like? It is cold, damp, dark, gloomy, it is hardly surprising I feel grumpy about it. I often think it would be so much simpler to hibernate and wake up when it is all over, such is the resistance to Autumn.
We are half way through Autumn now, in the UK, we have been blessed with brighter, dryer weather, than is typical. I worry what this says about the climate of our planet, but delight in the opportunity to be out in nature without the discomfort of getting wet and cold. I have observed the changing landscape of places I explored through the Summer and can not help but be astonished by natures ability to adapt and survive. My previous judgement of Autumn is challenged by these observations. My childish curiosity to explore Autumn, in this new light, has created an emotional state of allowing and accepting that, which once filled me with dread.
Most people associate Autumn with the transformation we see in trees, leaves turning to stunning, reds, oranges and gold before finally falling to the ground. I think most people would agree this is undeniably a beautiful sight. We underestimate the resilience of trees but I am conscious now that their inability to move to a place of shelter, resigns them to the full force of the elements and yet they display such calm and magnificence as they change to meet the conditions they are exposed to.
As I crunched through woodland, with the intention of immersing myself in these colours, I start to ponder whether there is a relationship between the colours around me, and the colours of the chakras, and energies within me. I was certainly feeling orange! I chuckled when I considered I had impulsively bought an orange jumper, only a few days earlier. The intention of this walk, came from a desire to be around trees and their orange leaves. I have only a glimpse of knowledge about chakra energy flow, most of my insight has been learnt from the amazing teacher of the yoga class I attend, and guided meditations that take your mind to the various chakra points of the body. As I sat at the base of an oak tree, a short distance from the lapping waters of the estuary below, the associations to the sacral chakra seemed ironic and made me smile.
I feel connected to the ground at the moment, which is different from Summertime when much of my desire was about climbing to the highest point and viewing the world from a wider perspective, sensing the rays from the sun on my skin. Autumn seemed to be about focusing my attention lower. The similarities of what I was observing in nature and what I was sensing inside seemed to bring a recognition of energy that flows within everything.
I sat for a time and watched the squirrels frolicking around, finding food to store for Winter. Birds easily finding food in the damp ground, singing cheerfully. My thoughts wonder to animals that undertake incredible migrations as a way of adapting to the changing environmental conditions, with navigational systems that remain a miraculous marvel. Nature is undoubtedly alive, Autumn seemed to be a time for preparations and transitioning from the vitality of Summer to the dormancy of Winter.
We can not reflect upon this time of harvest without a deep sense of gratitude for the food we are blessed to consume and the responsibility to ensure this food source is respected, sustained and shared among all life forms. It is also interesting that nature seems to bring into season the foods that we need to maintain our health during that season. In the UK, there is an abundance of root vegetables in Autumn, able to provide easy access to carbohydrates and other mood boosting, immune system supporting properties. Is the association of root vegetables and root chakra significant? I would really only be guessing but the thought brings a smile.
Autumn presents us with a time to prepare and reflect. As the leaves fall from the trees, it is perhaps a symbol of letting go of the things that no longer serve us. This is perhaps our transformation before the commencement of winter and a time to preserve energy. As we experience fewer hours of daylight, our energy levels can be reduced, perhaps we should consider whether we use our energy wisely and be kind to ourselves.
When we spend our time rushing or moving from one task to another without time to digest our experiences, we feel stressed. I think on cold dark evenings, we have a longing to feel snug and cosy. I see these cold dark conditions as an invitation to put on the fluffy socks, over-sized, comfy jumper, maybe with a blanket and relax, in whatever way brings you pleasure, whether reading a book, watching a film… I like to crochet the over-sized jumpers and blankets, I nest in later but this is an individual thing. The importance, I think is on letting go of should dos, and musts and carving out time to stop and feeling safe and comfortable with where you are in your life now. As we move through Autumn into winter, creating this warm, welcoming space becomes more significant.
It is worth observing that the pine trees and holly bushes stand out because they remain evergreen, presenting red berries and pine cones, through into Winter. Mistletoe too with its distinctive berries. My awareness is taken to possible symbolic meaning that could be linked with all that can be seen in nature, it seems to lose something with explanation and is perhaps more powerfully felt. I would encourage anyone reading this to take time out and explore any kind of natural environment that you can access. Let go of all your concerns and worries, just be. Reduce your thinking and just observe and breath, enjoy the experience and dismiss expectation.
I am reminded, as I was in Summer, that it is nature and its awesomeness that enables me to trust in a process of life. Without cognition or a complex thought process, nature flows from varying states, seemingly effortlessly and with such beauty it is hard to not identify it with some force beyond our comprehension, that creates nothing short of perfection.
In conclusion, it is hard for me to still think about Autumn the way I did only a matter of months ago by spending time getting to know Autumn a little better, I have learned to throw out the welcome mat and embrace the richness it offers. It was when I acknowledged my resistance to this season, after all, I didn’t have the ability to hibernate my way through it or migrate, so I began to allow and to accept it with appreciation. I truly believe in doing this I have connected more meaningfully with the changing environment around me. I think Autumn is full of abundance and symbolism. I hope this blog encourages you to put on a coat and crunch in the fallen leaves. I would love it if people reading this commented on things that they embrace about Autumn, so that we can share experiences and deepen understanding and appreciation of all the various aspects of wonderment we are able to experience. What is clear, is that Autumn has flow and purpose that I am not sure humans can fully understand, however, we can observe and connect with hearts full of admiration for the process of life.