The first day of autumn arrived this past Friday, at 4:35 A.M. CST. As I went to bed the night before, I thought about waking up at that hour in order to celebrate that historical event, but at the last minute, decided against it. After a record-breaking hot summer, the temperatures had finally begun to drop from the triple digits we had experienced throughout the summer. It may not seem like fall, for the temperatures still reach into the nineties, but it has begun, regardless.
Even as the fall is in its beginning stages, I began contemplating the coming winter. I have seen some seventy-two winters in my lifetime, not that I am boasting for many of my peers have seen more than have I. Winters come and go as do other seasons.
One morning this week during our ritual of letting the dogs run, I had settled into a restful posture underneath the pines by my small pond. Never mind that the pond had dried up long ago during the extreme heat. As I was sipping on a hot cup of coffee, I watched a leaf from the Sycamore tree, auburn in color, drift gently from its perch and land ever so softly on the ground below. I noticed that other leaves from assorted trees were falling as well, a meteoric-like shower of color descending. Even leaves must succumb to the law of gravity.
Isn’t it odd that we notice things that fall but rarely do we notice things that rise? Such as the moon, bubbles, smoke, blood pressures, tempers, bread, helium, heat, the sun, gas prices, well, maybe we do notice things that rise.
As I move from my perch under the pines, I began to think about how nature correlates with life. I picked up a golden leaf and turned it over. The veins were very symmetrical. They seem to mirror the veins that course through the human body. Coincidence? Not likely!
Noting that just as the coffee warms my insides and prepares my body to accept the change, I am reminded that everything under the sun begins to prepare for the winter. And, autumn is the season for preparations.
One can see squirrels busily burying nuts, far more than they could possibly consume in three winters, much less one. The hummingbirds are in a feeding frenzy at the feeder, storing up as much energy as they can possibly contain in preparation for migrating to warmer climates. Insects such as bees and wasps are busy preparing their homes for winter. Now that the temperatures are cooler, most have already selected the best place to build a nest or hive in places I do not wish them to be, so the colony can hibernate until spring.
Winter is not here yet, but it is coming. I do not anticipate the cold with glee, yet I must prepare for winter as well. Just how do humans prepare for winter? Some may be storing up body fat. Guilty as charged, however, that aspect is not confined to preparations for winter.
We pull out our warm coats and sweaters, put our storm windows up, cut firewood, and winterize our vehicles with new tires and antifreeze. This reminds me, I must also winterize the kennels for the dogs as well.
Humans utilize many aspects of nature in our winter rituals. Although some celebrate Christmas as a secular event of winter and others ignore it completely, it is the celebration of the birth of Christ. I love Christmas time, with the white pine or spruce Christmas trees and holly and mistletoes decorations. How many of us have a garland of real or wooden red berries on our fireplace mantel or Christmas tree, or have a cardinal or bear ornament in our house? We bring into our home these aspects of nature because they represent peace and beauty.
Everything that we experience shapes the way that we interact with life. It is not by coincidence, not by chance, but rather by design. You may not consider yourself a religious person, but you must consider a design of nature. It is not happenstance. There is nothing coincidental about the way things are put together.
All of nature, including us, have adapted in some way to surviving and preparing for the seasonal changes. Winter is a time for meditation, reflection and change, not gloom. So put your warm sweater on, light a fire in the fireplace, heat up some tasty hot chocolate, grab a good book, and enjoy what winter has to offer.
But today we are in the early stages of fall. The leaves are falling.
Have a great day.
Pete Robertson © September 2011