As summer fades and we head into autumn we begin to think about venturing into the woods and kicking leaves. Enjoying the wealth of colours that surround us with natural beauty. Gold, brown, yellow and faded greens surround us as we unconsciously take in the smells of woodland forever slightly damp and musty. The smell or scent that just is ‘woodland’, one of those smells that we acknowledge as a celebration of life and being human. Memories of a carefree childhood, running, frolicking and falling over down slopes, carefree and happy.
Another opportunity to observe the cycle of life, the wheel of the year. Autumn is a sign of the natural world slowing down and slowing down and the falling of leaves is our deciduous trees shedding the leaves that they no longer need. Many of our plants retreat back into the ground and dormouse, bat and hedgehog prepare for the long slumber of torpor and hibernation.
The cold of winter is coming and preparation needs to be made to endure a necessary time of potential scarcity. Winter.
And whilst winter has many delights for those that experience it, some preparation is always useful. There is a wonderful phrase, ‘you can’t fill a full cup’. As humans we often become hoarders, we get very attached to ‘things’. Our houses and homes can often become cluttered with our possessions, books, ornaments and clothes to name a few. Our gardens too, although they tend to declutter themselves, they need a little help, which we readily give them, sweeping up leaves to protect our lawns and tidying up our gardens for winter, pruning plants such as buddleia and hebe. Many plants are best left I think, but that is a topic for another day.
It’s worth though thinking about ourselves too. What are we carrying around that isn’t helping us? What worries and emotional baggage are we carrying around that is weighing us down? Especially now as we are still emerging from ‘lockdown’ and ‘Brexit’ and going into a potential recession, and of course the passing of our Queen (Sept 2022).
Financial worries are growing, fuel prices are high and energy bills are threatening to explode. Household repairs, alterations and modifications costs are skyrocketing. Landscaping costs have almost doubled from pre lockdown levels.
Of course, there are always personal issues, fall outs with friends and family, domestic troubles and if you aware of them there always energies moving around and about that can cause unease, as well as euphoria.
Often the biggest difficulty is being aware of the gremlins that are causing you to feel weighed down and full of dis-ease. If you are full and weighed down by worries and troubles life becomes tough, but it is difficult to be aware that you are out of balance and need to take action to bring your life to an even keel.
In the last couple of weeks, I found myself in exactly that situation. My morning routine had been pulled in various different directions and had become a pale shadow of itself. I had had to stop exercising because of a knee injury, time to read had been hacked into, time for meditation was brief and erratic and space for my gratitudes was suffering too. On top of that I had got on the wrong end of a family members angst. I thought I had dealt with that, but, well I don’t know. There was a full moon, the harvest moon, our beloved Queen had passed on, both myself and my wife were incredibly busy and a few last-minute details had emerged that had to be dealt with, and we were starting to make some errors. Also, I hadn’t been able to go to the woods, where I regularly go to unload a lot of the weight that builds up.
I needed to clear some space; my cup was full. Time for some shedding. I’d like to say that I consciously managed it this time. Often I do, but not this time. Well, not directly. I had booked a drum birthing day back in July and just when I needed a break in my calendar, there it was, right when I needed it.
A whole day with nothing else to focus on except the spirituality and ceremony of birthing a drum. Law of attraction in motion. That also is a blog for another day. What a day it was. Connection with horse, wood and spirit. The spirit of the drum. Time out.
The next day, I made a conscious effort to get my routine back into semblance of normal order. My knee is not good yet, but it is significantly better. I did a little exercise. I soaked up meditation like a sponge absorbs water, did all my reading and had lots to be grateful for, as ever. In fact, as the day progressed, I became more aware of a deep sense of inner calm that I haven’t been aware of for quite a while. There was chaos all around me, but none of it seemed to find me at all. Life was back in balance. That’s good too, especially with the equinox just round the corner.
I wasn’t aware of how much weight I needed to shift until I had off loaded it, but I have pulled all my usual routines back together. The space within taken up by all the good stuff is far less volume than that taken up by the unhelpful.
I haven’t made my way back into the woods yet, but that isn’t far off. After yesterday’s meetings, the need to be productive has again increased, but the weight has gone and I meet my new challenges with enthusiasm.
The view is clear, just like in the video!
Time to go and kick some leaves.
Simon Pollard. Countryman and Modern Day Pagan.