I felt a strange sensation this week. I’m calling it the turning tide of the season; a moment of sudden inertia.
In drear, damp London, the day’s winding down close to 4pm now. Some days, like yesterday when the rain poured steadily out of a grey sky, flung against the windows by the gusts blowing in from the west, it feels as though it doesn’t get light at all.
The gales tear the last of the leaves from the trees. The leaves at the very top go first, bearing the brunt of the storms. The sheltered branches still hold their russet remnants. Forlorn flags, flickering their colours for these last few weeks of the season.
Just over four weeks until the solstice. The shortest day; the day the darkness is strongest. We’ll light candles, gather with friends around a familiar table.
The turning tide
In the murky river, I watch the currents tangle and twist as the stream rises, heading for the sea. At this time of year they’re picked out by fallen leaves, by the debris cast out by the storm.
Where two meet they form little conflicts. Eddies and swirls, pulling against each other.
That’s what I felt this week.
As the noise of the festive season begins – the sparkle and buzz of the parties, the new recipes to cook, new things to wear, the gatherings to plan and the presents to make, I’m drawn to all the winter will bring.
Candlelit suppers. Brisk walks. Long overdue catch ups and carefully prepared gifts. Travel to see loved ones; mulled drinks to sip and sugary treats to enjoy.
And at the same time, with the dwindling daylight and bare branches, I feel winter’s deeper energy.
The stillness of a frosty morning. The quiet in the woods with the birds gone quiet and the squirrels nested away.
The steady drum of the rain on the roof, lulling me to sleep.
The urge to retreat, to rest, to reflect. To stop pushing, stop striving, and allow it all… to be.
Yin and yang
Winter, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, is yin within yin. Is dark, cold, earth. Is passive, inward-moving, still.
And so we bring balance to that by eating warming foods, by moving and gathering and reaching out to those we loves. We stir up our own yang to counteract the stillness of the season. The push and pull, the to-ing and froing, the rattle of the wind and the quiet of the garden.
All there, always.
Do you feel one energy more than the other? Do you dread the quiet, and long for the social bustle – or are you more of a quiet-curl-up-by-the-fire type?
Perhaps you’re not feeling winter yet, still enjoying Autumn’s turbulent, rambunctious movement. The way skies are dark one minute and blue the next; the fall of afternoon sun, the pink-gold light seeping down into the west.
I’d love to know your experiences of the season. Sharing our experiences helps us pay closer attention.
Leave a comment below sharing where you’re at.