The birds are flocking. The season is changing. The nights are colder, the days shorter. We’ve cranked up the pellet stoves, not yet ready to get the wood stove going, but that will happen soon enough, the daily carrying of wood into the house, the cleaning of ashes, the morning fire starts. Gardens yield different rewards now, squashes and kale, hearty swiss chard and root vegetables, the tender greens and basil gone, the tomatoes and cucumbers done. And so we must change too. How we live and how we eat naturally change with the seasons, especially if we choose to live close to the land, mostly within our local environment, dependent upon our own efforts and those of our neighboring farmers.
I watched a flock of blackbirds one day, heard them loudly chattering out in the trees, saw them rise up and soar away into the sky, a crescendo of beating wings and hoarse cries as they took off, a dark cloud sweeping toward southern lands. The next day a flock of grackles passed through, their squawking even louder than the blackbirds. Their wings beating the air was noticeably different too, loudly rustling the leaves of the trees, as they nervously flitted about and stirred the air. Pointing their blue and green iridescent heads to the skies they took off in one loud swoop, as if orchestrated by some invisible conductor they all had access to. I wondered where they were headed.
The leaves on the trees are changing colors now. The ash trees are already bare, the red maples drop their heavy leaves day and night. The sugar maples glow red, orange and gold against the sky. The pool is winterized, the deck furniture being put away, the plants being brought in for the winter. The changing time is here.
Changing time means we must change too. We must acquiesce to the seasons too. We naturally pull on sweaters and shoes. We use heavier blankets at night. Though we live in a time when we can have anything we want, anytime we want it, there is something not right about that, not in alignment with nature. If we are to lessen our carbon footprints, if we are to be in synch with the changes of life, we must flow with the seasons. They offer us the signal that it’s time for us to change too. If we stay in alignment with nature, with what is happening outside of us, we learn that change is natural. We realize we are not the masters of all that we embrace, but only a small cog in a bigger machine. We are nothing in comparison to nature, the true master of us all.
As we pull inward during the fall and winter, we must go willingly, ready to receive what the coming months will bring. We must acquiesce, but we must be like the squirrels gathering nuts and the birds migrating too. We must not let the seasons of change overwhelm us, but we must flow with them while we also make our own proper preparations. We don’t want to be caught off guard. Imagine it’s suddenly winter and we don’t have a coat, we didn’t buy fuel. If we don’t close our windows it’s a sure sign we aren’t aware of what harshness may come. That would not be smart. We must live in the present. It’s the same thing when we go inward in a psychological sense. As we intend our inner work we must prepare ourselves for what may arise.
As we ask ourselves to change, we must be ready for what will inevitably come. We must gather our tools and resources, our trusty companions and guides as we descend into the self. We must remember that if we seek change, change will come to meet us. Just as the seasons come without our bidding, so will new things come to us as we ask ourselves to move into new life. Without movement on our part nothing new will happen. If the birds did not fly south, they would likely perish, and new life would fail to happen. And so, like the migratory birds, we must be proactive if we are to instigate change for ourselves.
In our efforts to change, as Chuck wrote about in his blog the other day, Mindfulness & Journeying In Healing, we have so many options to support us. Even if we feel that we don’t have control at times, there are still things we can do to anchor ourselves, to provide some comfort and stability in the midst of our turmoil. For there will be turmoil as we change, how could there not be? But we just have to look and listen to what is happening in nature to know that the turmoil of change leads to new life.
As the world climate changes, we are all asked to change too. We can all do something to be more in alignment with what it means to change, to be part of the change. Begin on a local level, but go deeper still, into the very center of the self. Become like the trees, losing leaves and shutting down expenditures of energy for deep inner conservation. Like the trees, let change happen within now, so that come spring, new healthy leaves may sprout.
Like the seasons, this changing time is inevitable. Painful as it is to bear the tension of what we humans have done to the earth and to each other, we can each make a difference if we dare to change ourselves.
As we naturally turn inward and prepare for winter, if we take advantage of this natural time to do inner work, we are right in synch with the seasons, with the natural flow of change leading to new life. What better time to plan for the eventual birth of a new self!
Looking forward to more change all around,