Autumn, wrapped up, hats on, we head outdoors catching the last of the lingering light. Forest foraging for fungal friends, their timely presence favored to boost immunity & moods for the Winter season. The etheral quality of this season, captures the senses. Dulcet hues and tone, earthy scents enticing us out to explore the forests of our home. The season of great turning, not just for the leaves and plant life. So too for many an earthly body, who will fade and return back to the earth.
In the Valley we recently moved too, is an expansive national park, home to a small resident population of hardy folk, and neighbour Ted. A single elderly man who doesn’t keep great health. Often, I stop at Ted’s gate, in the daze of an Autumn evening walk, to admire the scarlet dahlias that embrace the circumference of his garden, still radiant despite the cooler days. A vestige to the number of seasons he has lived. Relishing this time as all to soon the Sun will move further North, the days shorten and the dahlias will fade. Defenceless against the elemental play of the Autumn-Winter Junction.
I reflect on the life of the dahlias admired so, manifested from the pulse of life, energy transformed into magnificent receptors of colour and texture. The lens of their life, indicate potent seasonal junctions: blooming in high Summer until they gradually fade to return back to the earth during the transition of Autumn to Winter.
Like the resplendence and perfection of the dahlia in its part of the infinite cycle of life & death. Like the fungal eruptions we forage, that feed from life and death. So to the human body pulses, not separate from nature. The elemental body with perfect intelligence transitions at this time too. It will naturally eliminate excess qualities such as heat and air generated by the Summer & Autumn. Inform the senses of particular nutrition, even the need to fast. If, we are adept at listening to body-mind-soul wisdom. Charged by harmonious living: with nature, ourselves and others when work and life are governed by right effort, the organic bodily functions will transition the seasons, with little effort.
It is also the time that we are most vulnerable, when disease can root deeper if we do not live according to right intelligence or when those of body & mind no longer strong enough will return from whence it came. The soul shedding it’s earthly form in the cycle of life – gives way to death, so death may give back life.
The late Autumn-Winter junction in particular is a difficult transition, the life science of Ayurveda knows this transition, as Yama Damstra, named so after the Vedic diety of Death – Lord Yama May 22 to June 9th in the Southern Hemisphere. Time when the wood piles are stacked, the last of the leaves drop, snow falls on the mountains, frosts in the morning and the days are short. We adjust our daily routines (dinacharya) & sadhana (spiritual practice) for warmth & invigorating movement.
The Autumn work calls me outside again, to rake the leaves that will blanket the garden over winter. I lift my head in time to watch an ambulance pull out of Ted’s house, his dahlias may not be the only thing fading this Autumn.
Then Winter Comes.