Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fall Colors and a Long Winter’s Nap

I realize that it’s a bit late to be doing a post on fall colors, but, keep in mind, I live in California. I recently spent a wonderful week in the Washington DC area with a new friend. Although I wasn’t visiting to see the sights, it was impossible, with DC so close, not to take advantage. My friend was an amazing guide. The last time I had been in DC was as a young teen, and I hadn’t seen the places I was seeing now: Embassy row, Georgetown, a dozen different neighborhoods. Our tour culminated in viewing the major DC sights while whizzing around on a segway. It was a blast! I highly recommend it.

What I didn’t expect was that my trip would fall on the exact week of the spectacular change in colors. Everywhere we went, we were flooded with red, orange and yellow light. I had lived in Maine for two years, more than a decade ago, and I had almost forgotten nature’s spectacular fall show, followed by an equally spectacular winter show and, then, a magnificent spring show! My mother, having grown up in Michigan, had excitedly described to me the fall colors that I had only minimally witnessed on the scarce deciduous tree-lined blocks in the San Francisco Bay Area. But nothing prepared me for my first Maine autumn. I grabbed my camera and excitedly took pictures of every majestic deciduous display that I encountered. (Yes, I went through a lot of film in those pre-digital days.) But what I wasn’t prepared for was the light. I loved being bathed in the golden glow resulting from this marriage of trees and sun.

When winter arrived, I was equally unprepared for its magnificence. Unlike my thorough preparation for the mechanics of winter (some of which got laughs from the Mainers --collapsible shovels, all-wheel drive vehicle, silk underwear, fleece-lined boots) I was overwhelmed and awed by the serene deep quiet, the play of the moonlight against the white show, the ice-storm-adorned trees, and the bright blue sky.

And then, after mud-month, spring appeared with bursts of color and choruses of birds.

As I experienced the change of seasons, I started to notice something more profound, something that I had not experienced in California. My life slowly merged with that of the seasons. The weather became the most important local news, so welcome after the daily murders that had filled the other local news of my hometown. When there was a snowstorm, schools shut down, and life slowed down. The depth of peace and quiet there was almost palpable. My body and soul went into hibernation and experienced rest unlike any before.

We are entering into winter now, and most of us are running faster and faster. The holidays are always tough, but coupled with this financial disaster and the disintegration of our established structures, this holiday season is particularly difficult. If you live in a place that experiences this dramatic change, then use it to slow down. Our bodies and souls need this rest in order to make it through the rest of the year. If you, like me, don’t live in such a climate, then you must be particularly careful not to get caught up in the rat race.

Winter is for rest. Do not take on anything extra. Get more sleep. Take this opportunity to build peacefulness and retreat into your day. Everything is birthed from this state of gestation. It is necessary. Without it, new creation fails. Our bodies may make it to spring, but nothing is birthed. The seasons are here to mirror our journey and guide us along our way.

Pay attention. Quiet yourself and listen.

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