The Power of Nature In the Fall

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“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
— Albert Camus

In northeast Florida, fall doesn’t necessarily begin on the autumnal equinox. At least, not a fall that includes cooler weather and jaw-dropping leaf colors.

This year, like most years, the end of September still felt an awful lot like summer, and Hurricane Matthew reminded us in early October that it was still storm season and the water temperature, like the air temperature, was still very warm.

But by the end of October, the daylight hours grow distinctly shorter, and the air does, to my great delight, finally get drier and cooler.

We still must be patient a bit longer for any glimpse of colorful autumn leaves, but let’s take advantage of this reprieve from the heat to get outside and be happily active and mindful. Here are just a few good reasons to revel in nature this time of year:

Being in nature (even a gentle walk with plenty of time for deep breaths and observation) can improve our mood, including increased self-esteem and feelings of vitality.
Being outside actually inspires us to move more, which boosts cardiovascular health and can lower blood pressure. I know I feel better about exercising outside when it’s not oppressively hot, and my dog acts spunkier, too!
The equinox can remind us to balance light with dark. I don’t know about you, but I love the long days of summer and how energized I feel by the extra hours of daylight. Sometimes I dread the coming winter, the shorter days, and how I feel like I’m ready for bed as soon as it gets dark! But maybe this is not a bad thing. We can learn to love the darkness, embrace rest if we need extra rest, and allow time for ideas and plans to germinate for the spring. Perhaps this year I can learn to love the shorter days as much as I love their longer counterparts.
Autumn leaves remind us to let go. Maybe it’s time to relinquish anything that is no longer working for us, whether it’s mental, emotional or physical. Fall is a great time for cleaning house and giving unwanted items to charity. It can be a great time to give our time and talents to others as well! There have been so many in our community helping those who did not fare well in the hurricane. Even in a calm year, younger, stronger neighbors can help their elders with raking leaves or sprucing up a lawn. I know of knitters who make scarves this time of year, and when cold weather approaches they put the scarves somewhere in nature so that those who are homeless will find them and have an extra layer of warmth.
Fall is a great reminder of the impermanence of things. Some plants sprout in the spring, thrive in the summer, and die back in the fall. Other things come to life in the fall, and that is the cyclical nature of nature. As we watch butterflies and hummingbirds leave and leaves fall on to the ground and decay, we are reminded of the beauty and awe of life, and how important it is to cherish each beautiful moment while we are living it.

Category : Blog Posted on October 26, 2016

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