I was having a discussion the other day with a friend. We were discussing the Seasons of the year and which one we preferred. I had to have a think about it. I do have a soft spot for Spring…but then don’t we all? Autumn though, Autumn is my favourite. Autumn is the Season of Completion.It’s like anything really, every cycle has a beginning a middle and an end. Every cycle is its own story. The great Wheel of the Year; the Earth turns itself and the Sun shines down on each part as it turns, in turn, turning that part for us to some very different shades.
Spring is the upstart, the newborn squalling and squirming into being, showing us its all, the promise of potential. Potential is a moveable feast. One can reach it or not so a promise is all we get.
Summer, the salad days, at least that is what we hope for. Here in Scotland salad can get very soggy; but still, things are in full bloom – the potential reached is now bearing fruit and we celebrate that. Our diet changes, we divest ourselves of clothes and resemble boiled lobsters on the few lazy days the weather forecast is even marginally positive.
Litha, the Midsummer celebration of the Sun reaching the highest point in the sky. Bitter sweet because we are on notice that time is passing and now the days will shorten. The first of the three harvests follows hot foot.
The first Lughnasadh or Lammas is the onset of preparation for the ending of the Summertime. Mabon the second brings us more heartily to the door of Autumn and Samhain takes us to the inner sanctum of it.
It is in Autumn that we see the trees begin to shed their leaves. We are about to see the naked truth of life in Winter; but this is not all of course this is harvest time! The fruits of our labours, the fruits of Nature’s labours are there to be harvested. It is this that forms the ultimate completion of what Spring has begun. We see the trees, shrubs and plants gift us their bounty. They are really gifting new life the next year’s Spring and we are part of that journey.
It is this way also in the Seasons of Us.
Our Autumn is the readying of the completion of our lives. All that we have grown to be, the fruits of our labours, what we will gift to the next Spring. We store up our gifts and out knowledge and we take ourselves to the bone fires. We stock up for the coming Winter which is the rest period. The time the Earth sleeps and dreams the dreaming stories. Some of those stories we know and some we only find out when we have become a part of them.
The nights are fair drawin’ in. We are now, like the stoat, changing our vestments for what is to come. We take the work inside and we sit by the fires telling our stories, or watching the stories made by others on a box in the corner of the room or on the wall.
In Autumn the Blackbird’s song is more clear, more poignant, defining the times of dawn and dusk. The Magpies Gatling gun cries ardent and so loud as they feed up for the coming times. Squirrels invade flower pots and window boxes in an effort to hide and store food for the coming time. Robins become more noticeable, their red breasts and that cheeky twinkle in their eyes are again there to tell us that change is upon us. Get ready. The year is near it’s completion.
Completion. Completion is a season. They, we, all are growing with the cycle of the sun and the seasons that follow it. This season though, this is the one where we understand endings and that not all endings are final.
We wait for Winter’s sleep and if we have completed all our tasks through the other seasons, if we have learned the lessons to pass to the next generation we can, like Bear sleep comfortable through the Winter having completed Autumn’s time.
As I sit here in Glasgow looking out into the garden where the leaves from the trees are scattered over the grass, the sky is grey and heavy with rain clouds. Here in the relative comfort of the flat I complete my own tasks for the coming Winter time.
Writing courses and ceremonies for the changing of the seasons of other’s lives. I must admit my favourite times are when the Blackbird sentinel tells me the dawn is breaking or the Sun is sinking and it is time to complete my task and rest.
It is after all what Winter is for.