|Wild brambles, squash and sunflowers - for me the essence of late summer|
On this last day of August, on what has been an extraordinary summer by British standards, I pause to reflect on the changing seasons.
This is quite possibly my favourite time of year. I fall so readily into autumn and appreciate the softening, receptive energy as the earth gets quieter and more still. I am feeling and anticipating that right now.
These late days of summer are so lovely. I am quite giddy on the soft-toned mellow sunshine, that continues to bless us steadily, gently, constantly, streaming warm love and light through still blue skies.
Because of the continued dry weather, our sacred landscape of Avalon is evermore accessible, my favourite walking paths are uncorrupted by mud and rain, so much so that barefoot walking becomes possible, an imperative even: tender feet are safe on fat cushions of green grass and broad ribbed plantain leaves.
Flowers have bloomed, seeds have set, yet the hedgerows are still vibrant, green, punctuated with sudden bursts of bright berries.
Good foraging is possible: the brambles fruited early in the season and it's now time to look for the much smaller dark purple elderberry, often found higher up in the tree line; one has to be quick as they are much favoured by birds.
Cow parsley produces skeletal mandalas of burnt brown seeds and above them green acorns are swelling in size. Not yet ready to fall. But the cob nuts have and litter urban pavements around Glastonbury, crunching satisfyingly under foot, and are mostly taken by squirrels.
I have not yet seen conkers, horse chestnut fruit, in their spiky punk rocker casing coming down from the trees. Two large empresses on Bulwarks Lane, off Wick Hollow are consistently abundant and I am waiting for them. Their falling usually coincides with one of society's great autumnal markers: 'back to school'.
Yes, so summer is still here, yet on her way out, 'August, die she must'.
This is a time of fading, of passing, of ever increasing stillness, of quiet returning to the land and our hearts too. We do well to remember that we too are natural beings, as much as any tree, flower or blade of grass. We are subject to the earth's rythm; our bodies know it and are synchronised to this rythm even though we might seek to override Nature by eating out of season food shipped from far away, by using electric light to lengthen the day.
Such a sweet peace is on its way, which would benefit us to attune to. Here's some help from ayurveda.
- Stay connected to the sun at the joints of the day: observe sunset and sunrise to support circadian rythms and promote restful sleep
- Eat seasonal food: cooked with gentle spices that that boost digestive fire as the weakening sun weakens our digestion accordingly.
- Introduce oils to bodycare: warmed sesame to feet and wrists will help pacify vata aggravation that is around the corner at autumn equinox.
- Slow down, or build pauses for rest and contemplation into your day, again harmonising with the slowing of growth in the natural world.
-As we prepare for harvest time, harvest the good that we have received this summer; reflect upon and store happy memories and give thanks!
-Prepare yourself psychologically for a change, the loss of summer for many feels like a death, but we can look ahead to rich texture of autumn with its possibilities for increased comfort, warm, and nurture.