I love fall.
I’ve always loved it. I get a little resistant every year about the end of summer, because I know the rain’s coming and I want to do as many things in the sun as I can.
But once fall’s here — and this past week, the change in the weather helped me to fully accept that yes, it is here — there’s no turning back.
The fresh smell of air having been cleansed by rain, the brisk breeze, the leaves starting to turn, pumpkins, baseball playoffs, football, elections — it all says fall.
Actually, I felt fall start Aug. 1. That evening, after the brilliant stretch of warm, dry weather in late July, I was sitting at a Mariners game. All of a sudden, I felt the light shift, in a way different from how it had in evenings before. The ball had started rolling downhill.
We still had a lot of great sunny weather after that, but the shift that evening into the cooler temperatures of early August was Mother Nature letting us know that we were going back the other way.
Now I’m ready to embrace it. In addition to what I mentioned above, fall in many indigenous traditions is a time not only for celebrating the harvest but for quieting down, looking inward and releasing the things that no longer serve us.
These can be physical items, like too many old magazines lying around, too many old e-mails on the computer or junk in the closet. Or it can be habits, beliefs and attitudes that weigh us down and keep us from seeing better ways of living.
In some Native American traditions, the characteristics of the bear are associated with fall – with slowing down, going inward and being alone with our dreams.
It’s during this time, each in our own bear cave, that we can see and feel what we need to let go. This slowing down is essential. If we’re cutting everything so close that we always have to drive 80 mph, there’s never any time to stop and peek into the trunk to see what might be weighing us down and burning up our fuel.
To take the time to stop and dump the load is, in our go-go-go world, a tremendous gift to ourselves and those around us. And fall – despite holiday preparation and the chaos to which we so easily resign ourselves – is the perfect time to put on the brakes and say, “whoa.”
In the dark of the bear den, our unnecessary burdens can come to light. Then we can let them go, into the black winter night.
Bill Sheets is editor of the Edmonds edition of The Enterprise.