It seems that just the other day we were sitting in pools of our own sweat gasping for the cool air from fans – that are rarely used in UK households.
The unusual heat is energy-sapping and I admit on some days it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed. Now I can feel a drop in temperature in the early mornings and evenings and the leaves are starting to fall.
Not surprisingly I am feeling the energy slowly creeping back. I have always been one of those people who likes the “turning” seasons, those seasons between summer and winter when things change. For me, there is an unmistakable energy in the air – a sense that things are about to happen.
We will have the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere (23 September) in a few days. Traditionally it was a time to honour the harvest that nature provided in the summer months. In the good “old days” when life was more simple, people were more in tune with nature. There was an acknowledgement that we humans were part of the earth’s carefully constructed symbiosis.
In those days there was a deep respect for nature – as many people grew their own food and knew that a bountiful harvest would help them see through the cold barren winter months.
Of course, there will always be times when nature has her tantrums, and she shows us who is boss. There are floods and droughts and for this reason, people learned to get along with their neighbours, so when times were tough they could lean on each other and share what they had.
Today we live in a myopic society where "Me" is more important than "We". We don’t even think of community and neighbourliness, especially in cities. People really think you can buy happiness or convenience.
Loneliness is an epidemic, and the Covid pandemic made it so easy for us to become fearful and isolated. We need to look at the patterns we have created and take steps to break bad habits.
The saddest thing is that humans have lost their relationship with nature. If Earth was really a "Mother Earth" we - surely would be very bad children. In a world full of distractions we forget to respect the very planet we live on. We have forgotten that nature is our best teacher. So back to the seasons - think of your life in sync with nature.
Stop making New Year's resolutions that don't work, rather plan changes around the natural rhythms of nature.
What did you plant in Spring – was it ideas, a new hobby, an intention to try something new? In summer did you notice any benefit from the seeds or ideas you planted – did they grow, did you water them, did you get any rewards or “bounty”?
Now come Autumn it is time to take stock of what you want to do in the following months. As the cold creeps closer you might be inclined to be more physically quiet, but it is a great time to use your mind. Read those books you have on your wish list, or listen to them. Take up a new hobby.
As the world has become more modern we have forgotten the importance of these seasonal signposts. Tribal and indigenous cultures around the world have recognized the inherent relationship between the earth and people. The four yearly equinoxes Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter were also to guide us on a spiritual journey.
When I lived in Johannesburg winter was a grim season, it was cold and miserable. The city rose out of the remains of a gold-mining shanty town. Dusty mine dumps with bleached clumps of veld grass surrounded it, now these have been flattened, so the landscape is flat punctuated by buildings and sprawling suburbs. It’s a dry winter and the landscape turns grey or a bland mustard yellow. For me, winter in Johannesburg always felt like someone had erased all the colour.
My daily mantra was – “This too shall pass” or alternatively I would moan … “Now is the winter of my discontent!”
I hope to change my antipathy towards the cold. For me, autumn was always the warning sign that winter was closer. But now I am looking at the falling leaves and changes as an opportunity to plan for the season ahead. No more revelling in my misery. This year now based in the northern hemisphere I have realised the seasons are so definitively different. In South Africa and I imagine in more temperate climates, the seasons blur into one another gradually with less definition.
Here in the UK, I will try to align my personal journey with the seasons. Embracing the opportunities each season brings.
TRISH BEAVER is a blogger, journalist and creative communications consultant. She loves murder mysteries, the beauty of nature and eating chocolate. You can read more of her stories on her blogs - www.eagerbeavercommunications.com