Historically, I have found autumn to be an emotionally difficult time. With depression as a long-time companion, the waning light, noticeable at the end of July, would create in me a sense of panic. I would fret and worry about the descending darkness anticipating the release of my mental gremlins that only came out of the corners of my mind when the shadows grew long. I’ll tell you a little secret, friends, when you walk around like that, with your head up your bum, anticipating nothing but the worst of what’s in store, you get exactly this–darkness and everything looking like shit.
It happened one year, for reasons unknown to me, that I accidentally lifted my chin, looked up at the sky and saw for the first time a whole new world. The colours were dazzling with trees looking like heavily plumed Las Vegas showgirls. It was as if Mother Earth had been standing in front of me year after year with her best negligee on, begging me to recognize her, and I was too busy with the lint in my belly button to notice her alluring display. That year I finally began to take it all in.
I am now thoroughly mesmerized by this season. The colours, yes, are magnificent but so is the sky. With the dome of the Earth pulled further away the clouds have more chance to play and change their disguises from menacing, grim grey-black shrouds to eye-shocking splashes and swirls of bright pink, orange and heron blue; god is definitely an artist! Mother Earth pushes forth her last hurrah of bounty as the remains of the harvest are collected. The hellish heat and humidity of the summer has given way to fresh, crisp air that allows us to walk outside without suffering and, in the good old Canadian tradition, it makes for “good sleepin’ weather”.
Fall is a chance to begin to relax, to take a deep breath and stop the frenetic activity of spring and summer. Our shoulders can come down a bit as we notice that, perhaps, we have just a little bit more time to do the things we’ve missed doing. This is our time, energetically, to process and assimilate all that has gone on during the previous months when activity was so overwhelming that everything rushed past in a blur. This is the time when the pulse slows and the vision clears and we just rest. The planning time for the future will come; this is the grace period Nature provides for us before that empty canvas of the future is pulled from the closet waiting to be filled. Autumn is the pause between the exhale and the next inhale.
I am no longer in the depressive slumber that used to haunt me at this time of year. I notice and marvel at the razzle dazzle that sparkles before my eyes. I also feel a deep sympathy for Mother Earth who has worked so very hard to support us during the growing season. I’m at a point where I cannot in good conscience ask her to stick around, to continue living in a frenzy without rest, when I recognize my own need to slow down during the dark months. I understand, finally, that Nature is not abandoning me, she is just taking a much needed and well deserved break. And if I’m lucky enough I will still be alive to walk with her during all her phases, from deep, buried slumber and back to wake again. This wheel of life truly is magic!
In honour of the Great Mother and all that I love about this world and this season, a wee poem:
Shivering Earth Mother,
pull closer your coat of withered leaves
and brown wet grass.
Cold wind-tickled toes
Autumn sun-kissed face
drop deeply to slumber
and rest well.
From your shrouded stillness
dark mystery murmurings
for seasons yet to come.
What shrouds have pulled from your eyes recently? What can you see that you’ve never seen before? What bounty comes from your own personal harvest?
Wrap up, stay warm, find comfort, and may the spark of this season’s magic enter your eyes to fill your soul.
All my love,