It’s early in the days of September and I’m noticing a palpable difference in my overall mood and wellbeing. As the air begins to shift and the darkening days draw near, my soul begins to sing! It’s as though I come into greater aliveness as everything around me takes on new forms. I have learned over the years that I thrive in autumn and my body craves the cool morning air. There’s nothing more revitalizing to me than getting up in the quiet hours of dawn just to taste that first breath of crisp morning air. It’s the same feeling I get when I gather the courage to plunge into cold water. It’s electrifying.
Perhaps the outer changes stir up energy within my own being that is good and necessary. I like to imagine that the winds of change come ahead of the Equinox in time to stir up what is stagnant… old skins hanging on by a single thread that simply need a gust of wind to make them come loose. Things that would be a burden to carry into the dark. So I say, welcome winds!
September 9: Spider Webs
This morning, I’m going for a meandering walk to capture the miracles unfolding all around me in this precious time of transition. The beauty never ceases to amaze and inspire me. I’ve chosen one of my favorite trails to walk in the early morning, Fern Forest trail. What I love most is that by the time I near the end of the trail, the warm golden light of the rising sun streams through the forest, illuminating and blessing every tree and plant. The dazzling light reaches out to kiss my face and I pause for a long while to allow my skin the pleasure of drinking in this waning elixir of life.
By the time I reach the end of the trail I have arrived at the edge of the field where the grass grows wild and the spider webs stop you in your tracks. They glisten with dew drops like jewels hanging heavy on a string. I am captivated by a spider who I’ve now spotted weaving a classic, wheel-shaped orb web. She moves with delicate precision, using each leg with great purpose and care. She makes her way from the outside of her web to the inside, dancing the circle dance. I get as close to her as I can, studying the mastery of her form and am in awe of her.
The orb web consists of a durable silk frame made up of the outer bridge lines with internal anchor lines that are pulled toward the center to create spokes. I’m learning that on most orb webs, the threads that serve as spokes are actually stiffer and aren’t sticky. They create the structural support for the web as a whole. Once they are in place, the spider starts to weave new strands on the outside and spirals inward, attaching each segment of silk and coating the strands with a sticky substance.
This design works effectively because once an unlucky bug gets stuck, killed, and wrapped, it generally maintains its strength, so the spider can make minor repairs rather than having to rebuild from scratch. This is important because web-building uses a huge amount of energy for the spider. Crafting such a web is a highly cognitive endeavor, requiring a spider to size up a space, pick out anchor points and assess how much silk it has available.
I don’t need science to tell me that nature is good for my body, mind and soul. I am affirmed every single time I leave the house and step outside. I take a clearing, deep breath in, and as I exhale I let go of my thoughts for a moment. Already I feel refreshed. I look up at the treetops surrounding me and notice the way they dance and sway with the wind, how they speak to me in this way, reminding me of how to live in this world with flexibility, bending with the winds of change. I appreciate the quiet message and go forward with an open mind.
As I walk through the woods, I move slowly and pause often. I take my time to notice the subtle changes taking place. Today the leaves are yellowing and more scatter the ground than the day before. I hear geese in the distance for the first time in many months. I don’t hear the bullfrogs or peepers anymore and the finches are gone. It’s cooler than it was yesterday, and overcast. Chestnuts and hickory nuts are beginning to fall and I know that we are fortunate because last year they didn’t. Soon we will make hickory nut milk which is my favorite autumn elixir.
Summer is fading and I touch the green leaves still here. I know it won’t be long until the branches are bare again and so I behold this moment like I do precious memories. This time next year will be different. I am growing and shifting along with everything and everyone else. Will I stand here then as I do now? Holding this awareness I am bathed in the ephemeral beauty surrounding me, knowing that all of this is only for right now. I am more present and attuned to life than I was before I stepped outside. I feel purpose in my being here and deeply connected to the living landscape of which I am a part. In nature I am nourished, uplifted, energized, supported and I know that what I do next matters. My relationship to earth is fundamental to my well-being and this truth lies at the heart of all that I do.
When you live close to nature, you begin to perceive with your own eyes how every day is new and different. Earth’s dance around the sun makes it so that even the quality of light streaming through the forest canopy is utterly unique. Certain critters are here today that weren’t here yesterday. The hummingbirds have been here since mid-March and have brought such joy to my heart as they playfully flitter about, and yet I know that today might be their last day here until they come again next Spring.
There is a season for everything and when we pay attention to what is here in front of us now, we appreciate where we are and all that is abundantly given. When we don’t take the time to slow down and appreciate what is in front of us and where we are in the greater cycle of things, life can seem dull when it simply isn’t and it becomes very difficult to connect to gratitude for the many blessings that life offers.
September 20: Moon Gazing
I’m sitting in the dark under the full moon rising. She’s currently sitting behind the tree line, her essence illuminating through the dark silhouette of trees. I love watching her light dance through the swaying pines, as though she’s playing hide and seek. I can’t wait to see her full glory.
I remember that she is a reflection of me, that her cycles of hiding and coming into fullness are reflective of my own inner and outer journeys. There are times when I feel so full I could burst. These are peak moments that I think we all most know to some degree. Moments when we reflect the radiance of life out into the world shining in our brilliance, allowing ourselves to be seen and witnessed in the glory of our own becoming. I love you grandmother moon. Your teachings settle and soothe me, soften and sway me.
May I bathe in the water of your Piscean essence.
May I receive the blessing you are bestowing on us all.
May I receive your love as I look into your light-filled face, letting it wash over me, clearing any debris, old branches or dead skins that are hanging on by a thread.
May surrender into your arms, into the cycles, into rhythm, the sway, the pulse…
I begin to sway in my seat, gently feeling how good it feels to rock myself.