The final day of summer was beautiful, breezy, and sunny in my little corner of the world, a wonderful 77 degrees (that’s about 25 for those of you who speak Celsius). The leaves on the trees are just beginning to lose the deep green of summer to traces of browns, reds, and yellows. On the wind there is just a hint of the coming season – a touch of leaf mold and a slight chill. The hummingbirds are still visiting the feeders, but their activity seems to be a bit more frenzied as they prepare for their annual southward migration. The same can be said of the elderly snowbirds who are my neighbors – they’ve been busy with final visits to local friends and family as they get ready to embark on their five month visit to sunnier climes. Other birds, crows and ravens, have been coming home to roost. They seem to love our mountain winters here and arrive en masse with the first trace of autumn. There is no doubt that the season is about to turn over and autumn will soon be upon us.
What does any of this have to do with a spiritual path or paganism? I realize that, for a lot of people, the changing of seasons is irrelevant to their spiritual/religious beliefs. I also realize that not everyone lives, as I do, in a place where there are four distinct seasons. I know, as well, that there are a lot of people who, while living in a temperate climate, pay little heed to the changing seasons apart from how it affects which clothing they choose to wear. I’m well aware that some folks feel that celebrating the seasonal cycles is completely pointless for all but those who are living in agrarian societies.
For me, and I suspect it holds true for others, there is just something about observing the seasonal changes that helps to tie me to the world outside myself. Interconnectedness is a core concept to my own world view. Connections are vital, not just those that bind us to other human beings, but also those to everything around us – the trees, the rivers, the land, the animals, the skies above us. I find that by taking time to celebrate the passing of each season, I can bring myself a little closer to all of those things, to remind myself of my place among them, rather than apart from them. I am also reminded of the impermanence of all things… and of the cycles that bring life back to seeming barrenness.
I imagine that if I lived somewhere less temperate, my outlook on seasonal changes would be altered. If I lived in the tropics, I imagine that I’d have to find some other means of connecting with the natural world, some other way to tie myself to the land around me. It might pose a challenge to someone who has spent her entire life in temperate areas. As tough as sinking my toes into a sandy beach and listening to the rhythms of the waves mingling with the sound of exotic birds would be, I think I could manage it for a bit. 🙂