The weather is getting cooler. The days are getting shorter. Everyday I come across yet another little sign that autumn has definitely arrived, whether it be the fall themed snacks (BooBerry cereal!) at the store or the more obvious stacks of pumpkins they sell out front.
Autumn has always been my favorite season. It was also my grandmother’s favorite season. When she died I think I probably claimed it as my favorite too because it provided me with a way to connect with her after she was gone. Nowadays I simply love it for the season that it is, the warm colors it creates around me, the traditions that belong to it and the subtle symbolism it brings.
I’ve been reading a book called The way of the happy woman by Sara Avant Stover. It’s a little new agey but she has an interesting way of organizing the book into sections, with each one addressing health and happiness according to what season it is. Here’s how she describes autumn:
The magic of the season extends deeper than our wardrobes, though, for during these crucial months, nature prepares for her long winter’s rest and teaches us to do the same. It is time to gather, store, organize, and wind down from summer’s high tempo and the relentless forward momentum that modern living usually demands. When the crisp winds of autumn start to blow, we need to tune in to the signal that it’s time to start slowing down. As leaves fall to the ground, they decay and merge with the earth once again. We too are in the process of letting things wither and fall away to gather only what is essential for the winter months. We’re reminded that, eventually, we have to let of everything in order to die countless little deaths in each of our lifetimes, and this ultimately prepares us for the final letting.
It’s that feeling of wanting to let things fall, to let go and surround myself with only what is essential. I also tend to have this instinctive urge to “hibernate” when fall comes. Especially as I get older, my time alone seems to become more precious to me. In this day and age of social media, it’s so easy to start feeling overly exposed and in the process of that happening you almost feel more isolated. Last week I made the decision to temporarily deactivate my Facebook account. Nothing specific sparked that decision. It was just this overwhelming feeling of I need to disconnect, I need to hibernate. Also, it is one of my main distractions in life and this time of year is just so busy, the less distractions I have the better. It’s been almost a whole week and I’ll be honest, the transition hasn’t been easy. I do tend to feel like I’m missing out on something and I have this overwhelming fear that not being on Facebook will mean I’ll loose touch with dear friends who live faraway. But I promised myself I would try it at least for a few weeks. It’s surprising how many times a day I do something and think “Oh, I should post this on Facebook” only to remember I’m not on there, and that I can actually use that energy and attention to do something else.
Meanwhile, Liam and I have been busy doing fall-like things. Each day I drive him to school we point out the leaves on the trees, keeping track of the ones that are changing color and trying to anticipate which ones will be more red and which will be more orange. Last weekend we went apple picking and picked up a few pumpkins too. We also went on our annual Halloween shopping trip and bought some more decorations. Liam is very partial to scary black birds and skeleton skulls. Each year it seems like I’m buying another version of both to decorate our mantle with.
Autumn has an interesting dichotomy about it. The whole symbolism of decay and death create feelings of sadness, but it’s so beautiful as it goes through that process. I’ve actually been thinking about making a list of things, whether it be emotions or physical items, that I want to “let go” of to celebrate that symbolism. Maybe I’ll write it all on a piece of paper and burn it in a bonfire. Maybe Liam and I can make that our new Fall tradition. That and leaving small gifts out in the yard for the fairies on the day of the Fall equinox. Although, I guess that was actually last week. Ugh, we missed that last year too. At least I have my porch decorated before the last week in October. That’s unusual for me so at least I’m on top of something.