As a mythologist, I tried to connect this article to the stories of an Algonquin bear hunt that explains why the leaves change colors in the fall or of Persephone’s yearly return to the Underworld that causes the seasons to shift, but I was more inspired from simply watching the animals and trees in our mountain community. The animals are not out as much, but even though I do not see them, they are busy making nests and storing food. Their work is not as obvious as their spring and summer activity, but it is important for their survival. I also noticed that the trees are turning colors and beginning to lose their leaves. Their fruit is a memory of late summer and a distant promise for next year. The animals and trees are focusing resources on the basics and preservation. It became obvious, to me, that I needed to fall back too and reorganize my mindset for the transition of the seasons.
You see, recently, I had been feeling out-of-sorts. I have felt more tired, less productive, and frustrated with myself. Regular seasonal mountain things, like power outages or road closures, felt more challenging and I was losing my patience more quickly than I should. I could not figure out what was wrong with me, but then, I realized – it is fall! Even though I have lived through enough years on the mountain to remember that the seasons are dramatic here, I forgot what those seasonal transitions mean for our day-to-day lives.
I was trying to live my life by summer standards and feeling myself falling short. While I filled my home with fall colors and good-smelling fall foods; I had not prepared myself for the fall. Instead of resisting with frantic attempts to be outwardly productive that is more suitable for summer; I needed to allow myself to do less, to rest, and to embrace the natural, more domestic nature of autumn. We physically retreat inside during the cold, dark days of winter, but we also need to give ourselves time to stop and go inside to ourselves during this time. Fall, and especially winter, are times for restorative stillness, reflection, and planning.
By researching for this article, by quietly watching nature, and reflecting to write – I learned to give myself grace and regain my patience. I learned by watching the trees that it is not only okay to release what does not serve us at this time, but also, that it can be beautiful to observe. The animals showed me that it is proper, not selfish, to focus resources on the home and that activities do not need to be obvious for them to be valuable. I learned to take time to rest, to reflect, and grow the seeds for spring.
Thank you for taking your time to read my ramblings. For more about the Algonquin myth of the bear hunt and the changing of the leaves in fall or the story of Demeter, Persephone, and the reason for the seasons according to Greek mythology, please listen to the links below.