How to enjoy and reconnect with nature in autumn
Autumn is an evocative season of transition and metamorphosis. It stirs a primal call deep within ourselves, which if heeded allows us to re-ground and flow with nature as it moves into its darker half. This is the season of damp earth, golden sunsets and woodsmoke-scented nights.
Foraging for wild food in autumn
Autumn is one of the best times of the year to forage for wild foods. Your own personal location will have its unique specialities, but here in England fruits, berries, nuts, mushrooms, seeds and seaweeds are abundant and plentiful. There is nothing quite like setting out for the day with a flask of warm tea, your favourite foraging books and an optimistic heart for what you might find for your evening meal. Eating in tune with the seasons is one of my favourite ways to stay connected with the flow of the seasons, but be mindful of a respectful harvest. Never take more than you need, leave behind some for the creatures of the lands and say thank you for all that you forage.
Bathing in autumn sunlight
Sunshine is a precious resource in the darker half of the year and is vital to keep our bodies and minds healthy and vibrant. If you are able, getting 10 to 20 minutes of sunlight as close to waking as possible is the ultimate power charge for the day ahead. If like myself you wake before the sun, take a moment during the day to be outdoors, eyes closed, drinking in the warmth of the sunlight on your skin. Deeply inhale the scent of cool air and damp earth, and allow yourself to just, be. The smell of soil reduces our stress hormones, and combined with basking in the sunlight is a potent mix for our well-being.
Letting go of what does not serve
This is the season of death, decay and letting go. It can feel solemn; facing the shadow side of nature and ourselves is a difficult journey. Remember, death is always a preparation for rebirth. Decaying leaves become fertile grounds for new growth. Now is the time to think on what has not been serving you, and what has been draining you of precious life force. Journal, meditate or speak aloud of items, situations, feelings, thoughts or people which need to fall away to allow space for your growth. Bury your list deep in the ground, light it ablaze in flame or shout it into the howling winds of autumn and let this season do what it does best - prepare all for rebirth.
Planting for spring in autumn
As autumn cools the air and dims the light, nights draw longer and warm days can feel a distant memory, but spring always returns. Before the soil freezes during winter, we are given an opportunity to plant for the brighter days ahead. Bulbs, fruit trees and even some seeds take well to the soil now, resting and awaiting the warmth of spring. A little work now can fill even the smallest spaces with colour when the days begin to lengthen once again, and you will be glad for each bloom after enduring a long winter. Daffodils, tulips and crocus are easy to plant even in window boxes and balcony planters.
Keep the fires burning during autumn
The smell of woodsmoke is one of my favourite aromas of all. It evokes long autumn hikes followed by tavern dinners, afternoons spent on the allotment burning off the remains of the summer harvest and frost-bitten nights when the moon is full and bright. There is nothing quite like burning a fire and warmth the hearth. If you are lucky enough to cook upon the flame, potatoes covered in tin foil, buried in the outer embers of the fire cook well for an outdoor lunch. Follow with apples stuffed with chocolate, spices and dried fruit baked in the same manner. Fires bring warmth, light, comfort and merriment - all are scared as the nights grow ever longer.
How do you stay grounded during autumn? Do you have any personal rituals for the season, or perhaps you have favourite places you like to stroll or linger? Please do share them with me, I would dearly love to know how you embrace autumn and the turning of the wheel.