Here we are. Here she is! Autumn. All browns and auburns and yellows and golds. Wading in with her low sun, cooler mornings and shorter days. Equal day and equal night. As perfect a balance as the universe can offer.
Waving goodbye to summer, equinox is a beautiful time for harvesting as we turn towards winter. Traditionally, harvesting crops, and today, harvesting our experiences and learnings, taking time to sift through what is still important, and what we need to discard.
So, if you fancy, mark it this week! Celebrate! Check in with abundance and gratitude, in whichever ways, small or big, are meaningful for you. Eat an apple and remember that – despite the supermarket shelves – they don’t actually grow all year round, on this land. This is their time. Humble little apple. Gather. Take a nap. Be on the land. Dig out your favourite winter jumper in preparation for the colder, darker days that are to come. In the busyness of another September, with a return to routine – and a now unnecessary urge to get a new pencil case – we have been sitting with a melancholy at the loss of summer frolics, and we can be reluctant to welcome the change in season. We want it to be summer still! Warm and hot! But, what if we remember the beauty of autumn alongside all of that? Name her and welcome her in? Indulge me for a moment…
Last week, on a Saturday morning kissed with the sleepy light of the rising autumn sun, I filled my pockets with acorns, conkers, apples and some beech nuts. Harvest abounds in beautiful, round, shiny, nutty treats around now. Have you got any, yet? I put mine in a bowl, just to enjoy them.
These treats bring beauty and pleasure just on their own – who doesn’t love the feeling of a shell-fresh conker in their palm? Shiny with its special fresh varnish? But something else – something more – happens when I remember that this conker, or acorn or apple seed in my hand has the potential to grow into a strong and powerful tree being…whoa!
So, this harvest time, the one invitation that is singing loudly for me is that in whatever we are harvesting, therein lies the seed for the next season…
And so, we can reflect; what am I harvesting at the moment? Which experiences and insights from summer will inform how I move into winter? What are we harvesting collectively? What seeds are in our hands? And of these, which do we want to plant? Which to pass on? Which to store for another season? Which do we want to let go of altogether? And if we don’t know any of these answers, then how does that feel?
The world is spinning. Literally, metaphorically, energetically. Cycles and cycles. Change and change. Moving and moving. On and on. I know I say it a lot, but it’s always true.
And within the spinning, we live with joy, and inequality. Peace, and terror. Friendship, and loneliness. Warmth, and fear. It’s all here, all side by side.
It feels like we are having week after week after week of huge, shifting change at the moment – environmental, global, political, social, cultural, royal. Whatever our personal positions on any of this, it’s means more than ever that change is the only constant we can rely on.
It can be overwhelming, and it is. And when I remember that that this change is mirrored by the cycle of the year, it gives me something to hold onto. And it’s tapping into this – today’s sunrise, the conker in my bag, the fireside I held with my school kids yesterday, that helps me respond to all.
So, in some small way, I hope that you might meet a conker or beechnut or berry underfoot one day soon, and that it might draw you into conversation about harvest and change and seeds. That it might make you smile, and invite you to pause. That you might walk into autumn with a little more welcome in your heart, allowing the summer to rest for another year, knowing that this slowing of the year, the coming darkness and inwardness has its place, too. Summer wouldn’t be summer without the winter. Autumn wouldn’t be autumn without the spring. Stillness wouldn’t be stillness without movement.
And so, this equinox, here’s to equality. With a world in bewildering crisis, this winter will be hard for us all – and gruelling for millions. We’ll need every scrap of harvest, compassion and collective support that we can muster. Hold onto that which brings meaning and connection and understanding into your life; we’re all going to need it.
With much love, as always, of course,