I know family and friends who love the change of seasons, especially from summer to Autumn (also acknowledged as Fall). Watermelon, floating in the lake on a flotation device, noticing the warm summer breeze, flowers blooming in gardens and if you’re lucky when on a hike or biking in the woods you might notice wild blueberries or raspberries ripe for picking and eating.
Autumn is a time to reflect on the summer season and if you live in an area in which the Autumn means a cold winter is coming, then Autumn is a time for determining what to do to prepare for the winter. For some it is canning and freezing summer produce, for others it is making use of local farmer’s markets and relishing the cool, crisp fall air. This is all about noticing; the sights, memories, smells, activities, and for some family gatherings. For some there was a summer vacation and each of these moments invites us to notice through our remembering and sharing the stories that allow us to recall the time spent in the summer.
As our flowering plants die and dry up or freeze we have to let them go and the beauty they provided. The trees begin to reveal their “true colors” as the green fades and the brilliant red and gold in various shades emerge. The dry leaves fall to the ground and crunch under our feet. When we allow a moment to notice God in the season, then we can express deep gratitude for all that God has created including our eyes that can see the colors and a nose that can smell the changing seasons.
What do we notice in the letting go of one season and welcoming the next? School starts again and if you have a college bound child there is much to let go of and to welcome. On the other end of the spectrum, a kindergarten student starting school, there is excitement for new experiences and growth. Spiritually, Vanita Hampton Wright tells us that a “dying landscape can inspire you to let go…Harsher weather can send you to God for shelter…Longer nights can lead you into more consistent silence and meditation…A new quality of air can inspire new thoughts and fresh ideas.”
Our blogs have focused on the gift of Ignatian Spirituality and St Ignatius in this year of remembering and recalling his life and his gifts to us. The change of seasons is an invitation to regroup, remember, review, recall and reinvest in a spiritual practice that has meaning for you, supports you in noticing where God is in your everyday life and expressing gratitude. The more opportunities we have for noticing God in the everyday, the deeper is our relationship with God, the Divine, and the Spirit. The changing of the seasons is a metaphor for letting go of what holds us back, opening up for doing or trying new things, refreshing and growing what works, seeking God in the “harsher weather”, the “longer nights”, “a new quality of air” and the “dying landscape”. Your inner landscape is ready for the gifts of Autumn. Are you ready to let go, notice, explore and refresh? As summer fades, the invitation from Ignatius is to notice with gratitude God’s presence in all things. Peace and blessings as you explore and surrender into the season of Autumn.