by Brant Secunda
Autumn is a time of balance. The word equinox elicits this balance and harmony between light and dark, warm and cold, fire and water. In the modern world, we have become increasingly disconnected from the world of nature as more of our lives have moved indoors. Many people spend their days working on a computer, in a building with windows that don’t open and a climate of 72 degrees year around. As this has become the norm, the normality of natural change has shifted in many people’s lives.
In ancient cultures, such as the Huichol Indians, one’s life is inseparable from all of life, or nature. Indigenous peoples not only had a deep spiritual connection to the natural world, but indeed physically relied upon it. Their food did not magically appear on a shelf in the village market. Most people had to grow their food and rely on whatever nature offered. For example, seasonal fruits were just that, seasonal. Today, you can find fresh apples in your local produce isle any time of year. A cultivated food, such as corn, was not harvested year-round, but rather during the season of the harvest, autumn. In this way, human life remained in tune with the natural ebb and flow of nature.
Today, we should all strive to do the same. Though we may work in a large office building and eat fresh corn every month in the year, that does not mean that we have to be disconnected from the natural world. What is needed to stay in balance is awareness. Awareness of ourselves, of others, of the seasons, etc.. A simple way to remain in connection with the seasons is to watch the trees around your home, or on your way to work. Pay attention to the fresh buds in the spring, to the brilliant green in the beginning of summer and now to the warm colors of the leaves, as the climate cools.
Watching the leaves change can afford you a small reminder of the constant changes in nature. During this season, let the leaves remind you to harvest the light of autumn. What does that mean? During the fall season, the plants and animals prepare for the darkness of winter, harvesting food for winter reserves or feasting before a winter slumber. Humans are inextricably connected to the plants and animals and thus we have an inherent connection to what they do. The trees use this time to absorb the light as the days shorten. Their leaves are shed and more energy is used to move inward. We should use this as an example of what we can do.
Enjoy each sunny day and in this way harvest the light of autumn in order to have a pleasurable winter, when it arrives. Fall is a time of balance, between our extroverted essence in summer and the time of introspection we experience in the winter. With this in mind, try to gain a sense of balance in both body and soul. By doing this, when winter arrives you will be prepared for the darkness because you will have nurtured the light within yourself.