Updated: Oct 4, 2021
Autumn is my favourite season. It's a time when I'm inclined to be more reflective as the environment calms down and settles, that life outside is less vital and less accessible (shorter days). It's not just that it happens to be a time that is useful for settling down and retreating inside but this is actually what nature itself is doing and is reminding us and inviting us to do the same.
Autumn is a time of maturity. All the vegetation that has been pushing forth, the flowers that have been openly showing off, the leaves that have been vibrantly waving at us are now calming down. They are maturing. They are loosing their vitality and they are changing colour. So for each of us there is a regular call to let things mature. To allow things to come to calm and settle and possibly die down. To let what is be what it has been and not insist that things are perennial when they have done their season. Maybe a role is changing in your life or maybe an interest or activity is waning. It might be time to recognise that things in your life come to maturity and that they are not meant to last continually. This is ok, this is what it means to allow things to mature.
Autumn is a time of letting go. Maturity naturally leads on to release where nature lets go of her leaves and her fruit falls to the ground. The growth and vitality that was summer has come to it's conclusion in this season and nature needs to let go, to let these things fall to the ground. So too we might become aware of letting go of certain things that have come to their conclusion. I even suggest Autumn reminds us to let go of all things. Everything is gift, we came to the world naked and naked we leave and so a practice of letting go will remind us of how to be truly human. But this is by no means a negative experience, but rather a liberating one freeing us from the baggage of life.
Autumn is a time of introspection. As nature draws her resources inwards, deep into trunks, roots and bulbs, she does this to retain and grow her inner reserves so that she can resource another season of flourishing that will come again. The call to demonstrate a persistently fruitful life is strong in our culture where the outer life is the one that is validated. Yet this is unsustainable and we need times where turn inward to feed our inner life. This is not the same as self-centredness but rather that we give attention to our inner life and not the outer life so that we ourselves become inwardly stronger and able to resource future seasons of busyness in the world.
Autumn can teach us about the ongoing seasons in our life. That roles, relationships, possessions and passions have seasons, that they can come to maturity as they are, that we need to let go of them as they are (so they might be renewed not discarded!) so we can become inwardly strengthened and resourced to reinvest in the outer elements of our lives in coming seasons.