This year the holidays came in with a hovering pensiveness due to huge fires in California during the weeks right before Thanksgiving. Feelings of lingering somberness colored the normally bright, fresh days of late fall in this region. The first rains have fallen usually fallen by late October and the anticipation of a joyful holiday season has begun to build. This year, however, the blue sky played peekaboo after a week of gray, toxic smoke covering its usual glory. The heaviness of so much sudden loss in various parts of California was slowly lifting…then the smoke returned and with it a sense of the tragedy others were going through. At last, the rains came and cleared out the heaviness allowing for a bright Thanksgiving day.
During the late autumn season, the Five Elements theory of Chinese medicine tells us that it is the time to let go, to grieve. As the leaves are falling to rest beneath the trees, there is a natural tendency to reflect on what has passed during the year. Allowing the past to be released, we can use the fallen leaves as compost to nurture what is coming next year. The Chinese have the right idea of the New Year beginning in the early spring. This makes more sense as winter is a time for hibernation, for the incubation of the new.
This season is always a bit strange before the rain and cold trigger the full retreat into winter. All around the yard there are signs of spring – bulb leaves popping up, grasses growing where the winter veg are growing, a softness in the air. This lasts for a few weeks before the cold stimulates the plants to finish dropping their leaves and the temporary growth spurts die back into hibernation. This overlap of plant growth is a wonderful reminder that the exuberance of spring is hiding underneath the mulch of fall.
As the season moves slowly into winter in the next months, there is time to go inside to ponder the reflections that arose in autumn. Look closely at the truths that are hidden inside and yearning to come out. Consider how you are currently living your life. Are you living a life that you feel good about? Are you constantly running to fulfill obligations that hold no meaning for you? Can you make a decision to choose a lifestyle that fits you better?
Once these questions are answered honestly, you can begin to take steps to create the changes you’ve discovered you want. Courage and support are required to make life changes. Most of all, perseverance and patience as each step unfolds in perfect timing. Hope slowly surfaces as you take the baby steps that move you forward. Take time this holiday season to surround yourself with others who are choosing the life they prefer. Change, though constant, is best achieved in like-minded company.
Delicious, comforting foods can help as we move through the grief of late autumn and into the cold of winter. This would be a good time to try enjoy some of the Sugi Garden recipes that are here for your pleasure.