It’s autumn! I am such a huge fan of autumn. I start every season with a list of things I want to do. The list for autumn usually includes walking outside, taking note of the beautiful colours of the season, knitting, having a Pumpkin Spice Latte when they come into the coffee shops and cooking more with squash and other seasonal bounty. The excitement of the season, twinned with the potential of what I’m going to do, makes me quite hyper active and restless!
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
This autumn feels different. There is still the excitement, appreciation of colours and the changing light, anticipation as the colder nights seep into our homes, but there is something else present too. I expected to feel a shadow over this autumn. A sense of things lost, and a fatigue caused by months of restructuring and restrictions due to the pandemic. I do feel those, not least because I have experienced personal loss recently, but another feeling surprised me. Sitting comfortably next to the sadness and tiredness, which I acknowledge, is an acute appreciation for the things and experiences we have, and a renewed awareness of the healing power of doing things that make us happy.
"Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy." Psalm 96:11-12
Autumn is a time when animals hibernate (some people do too!), leaves drop off trees and we say goodbye to some of our crops and summer flowers. Nature winds down, ready to slumber, after a final golden and fiery orange farewell. The world can look bleak come winter. But underneath the Earth’s monotone surface a huge replenishing is occurring. Plump and ripe seeds such as shiny conkers and prickly beech have already fallen to the floor and are active in their preparation for Spring. Fattened birds are already preparing for their migration back to us, and tiny bacteria and other micro-organisms are ploughing nutrients back into the soil ready for a busy spring.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:7-10
We observe a sleeping Earth, but in reality it’s one of its busiest seasons of preparation. In the same way we each have our seasons that may feel lifeless or sleepy. We may be tired, we may feel that there isn’t much point anymore, we may be fed up, not taking much joy in things. Feelings and experiences are seasonal- some can last for years and years and some for only months or weeks. While we can neither hurry nature or our own natural processes, we can remember that it’s okay to have seasons that are in themselves a process or a journey. Like Autumn turning to Spring; an essential transition that we may not look forward to and that can seem to take a very long time! Along your journey it is worth remembering your value, and taking time to look after yourself. Don’t rush yourself on your unique journey, your Spring will come at the exact right time.
“I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.” Leviticus 26:4 NIV
Please take some time this week to do at least one thing that makes you happy, remembering that you are worth the time taken to look after yourself. Mine will be getting a pumpkin spice latte (and then not feeling guilty afterwards!)