The last leaves of autumn have bid their farewell, the back fields have been plowed, and the bare branches of our surrounding trees now offer an unobstructed view of the birds who stay behind for winter. Just this morning, while sitting in the cold tub, I watched a bluejay pestering a hawk perched atop a poplar tree. The jay’s repeated attempts to ward off the enemy seemed playfully ignored when the hawk raised a foot to push him away each time he flew close. The joyful distraction allowed me to stay in the tub longer than planned.
A murder of crows migrating overhead, autumn leaves falling like stars that form a forest blanket for wildlife, and dahlias with frost-bitten faces are all familiar signs of a changing season. These “notifications” from Mother Nature are a good reminder to prepare new self-care rituals to support our shifting inner and outer landscape, too.
This morning, I charged my headlamp and hand warmers for the inspiration and motivation to keep walking as the weather turns cold. I pulled out the sunbox that will light up my mood as the days grow shorter. I started a list of what I’d like to get done before the holiday rush sets in so I can enjoy the festivities rather than tackle them.
Years ago, when one of my mentors turned seventy, he told me, “As I get older, I want to live more spontaneously and less by a schedule. I’ve done the calendar thing, I’d like to do the life thing now.” When my friend Helen was alive (in her eighties) she used to say, “One damn appointment can ruin a whole week.”
Boy, do I appreciate both sentiments, especially at this stage of life. While it’s certainly unrealistic to expect to have an appointment-free calendar, I’m leaning more in that direction. Less stuff, fewer responsibilities and decisions, and the spaciousness to do what I feel moved to do at any given moment is something I suspect we all long for, regardless of our stage of life.
Changing seasons invites changing priorities so it’s a good time to consider how you might add more life to your life. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, as we move towards winter, I’m letting nature lead the way.