South Coast boat (c) 2013
First day of autumn. And with it - rain. All through the night. Such a welcomed sight, sound, smell. In between the gusts of wind and shaking leaves, a collective sigh can be heard. A kind of 'ahhhh' as the water soaks into the trees, flowers and earth.
The temperature has also dropped. Being a born and bred New Englander, I don't go much by the southern hemisphere's idea of seasonal change dates. Here, the new seasons are heralded in on the 1st 's- 1 June; 1 September; 1 December; and 1 March - autumn. In my bones I know the seasons change on equinox and solstice dates. So when people here say things like, 'This isn't much of a day for the first day of summer!' I hold my tongue and think, 'Give it three weeks.'
Old timers in the parts where I grew up used to say that if you look at the weather on the equinox, you will get an idea of prevailing weather for the next six months. I have got to say, the times I took note of this, it proved eerily accurate. What no one wanted to see on March 21 or September 21 was the weather blowing a strong nor'easterly gale. The old timers also used to say that winter wouldn't come until the ponds were full. In other words, if there wasn't sufficient autumn rain, then the winter would be mild. Another observation which proved its truth many times.
These bits of Yankee wisdom were told to me by old timers who lived their lives on a small island, 14 miles to sea. There is a reason why talking about weather is a commonality - it is something we all live with every day. And when you live in a small community, buffeted by weather, wind and tides, you develop keen observational skills. The weather determines your livelihood. We come from agrarian societies - the weather meant feast or famine. Being able to read the weather patterns, and intuit what they meant, could be the difference between life and death.
We live now in a society where other people tell us what the weather is. Sometimes, listening to their forecasts, you have to wonder if they have windows to the outside or if they have ventured out of doors. They rely on computer mapping to tell them what's coming, instead of their senses, memory and intuition.
Sound familiar? Sometimes we can get so far from our own selves that we believe what others tell us instead of what we intuitively see, feel and know to be true - in our bones.
The old timers didn't have the technology we have today. Yet I would listen to their observations every time over what a weather report on TV might tell me. They listened and felt what was going on around them. They were connected to nature and to community. They took the time to listen and observe. And those skills allowed them to sense things 'in their bones'. They put trust in what their surroundings were telling them.
We have had a very hot and dry summer and throughout it all my husband has been saying, at least once a week, 'I think we could be in for a cold winter.' To which I think, 'Yeah. Not going to happen unless we get rain.' So, as I sit here on the first day of autumn (southern hemisphere time) and the weather is cool, blowing a gale and raining, I think it could very well be a cold winter. And I am thankful for my husband's persistence in getting us set up - there is already wood in the shed and a new, hopefully warmer and more efficient, wood stove waiting for installation.
I will be noticing the weather again on the equinox but for now, I am listening to my intuition which is saying, 'My husband might just be right...'.
Bright blessings for this transition between seasons. Remember that all you need to know is within you, if you are able to still the mind and listen. If you are feeling out of touch with this, step outside. Immerse yourself in nature. It will help you to hear and feel what you need to know. It will ground you back into your body; back into your intuitive self. Happy autumn/spring.
I've been having trouble with my knees lately. This isn't anything new. But the degree of how unstable they have become is scaring me. I have never been able to trust my left knee. (And no, the symbolism of being able to move forward into the feminine is not lost on me.) This comes from a childhood of knee dislocations which would have me wandering along quite nicely one second and then crumpled on the ground the next. These scenes were awkward, and painful, to say the least.
I had surgery on my knee when I was 14. And although my knee has not dislocated since, I have never fully trusted that it wouldn't. I am still realising how much this fear has impacted me in my life. I am hesitant to cross roads, I am extra careful around furniture at knee height (not wanting to inadvertently knock my knee cap out of place, like what happened in drafting class when I was 13). But I've always been okay with just plain walking. And I am very thankful for that. Because walking has always been one way for me to process and to ground. When all else fails, a walk helps.
So it is to a new level of fear that I have come into lately as walking has become increasingly difficult. I don't trust my knee any more to support me. I feel like I am going to topple over backwards and this leads to great jerky moves of my whole body. It's really quite freaky. It's like a startle response without the actual startle. I no longer trust in the fluidity of my movement. In short, I feel like my knee is lacking in integrity.
Which is interesting because this week's Ocean Oracle card is Rosa Rugusa - INTEGRITY. The card, story and message can be read here but what I find interesting is that I am trying to walk a path - walk MY path. And I no longer trust it. And while I know there is something physically wrong with my knee, I can't help but wonder at the metaphysical stuff around it: according to Louise L. Hay's 'Heal Your Body', knees 'represents changes in direction in life and the ease of these movements'; left symbolises the feminine. I remembered today that these jerky movements started a couple of years ago. As I was contemplating the transition from permanent state government job to self-employed healer, I used to walk in the park near my office. It was on these walks that I started to feel unsteady. Now I have transitioned so far into the healing side of things that I forget I was ever an extension horticulturalist. But lately I have been having trouble trusting the process. And although on most levels I feel completely supported, in a couple of ways I feel completely unsupported. It's as if my physical knee is reflecting my internal walk. So as I walk further along my path, in my truth and integrity, I am being challenged by all manner of things which currently seem to manifesting as a dodgy knee. I've got choices up ahead. The path is not only in one direction or even one path. I know I need to keep moving forward, even when that movement is awkward and scary and uncomfortable. And even if my knee is lacking integrity, that doesn't need to reflect the integrity of my choices. In gratitude.
My idea of home is tricky at the best of times. I live in one place, in the southern hemisphere, while having a place in the northern hemisphere which can pull strongly on me. I was born to this place in the north, and it is my heartland. But I choose to live in Australia because I love it and it has always felt like home. It's tricky having two places which I call home because they are mutually exclusive - opposite sides of the world sees to that. And I don't imagine I will ever be able to live in one place and not be homesick, at least on occasion, for the other place.
It is to this latest bout of homesickness that I now find myself shrouded in fog. And I am feeling my way through how similar fog and homesickness can be.
I arrive in America this time in the dark. The morning after arrival, I head to the ferry, which will take us passengers to the little island I call home. We embark in fog; sail through fog; disembark in fog. I think if I didn't know this place intimately, I would find I don't like it. It's uncomfortable, this fog. Not being able to see more than a few yards in front of me requires an immense amount of trust. I really have to trust my own navigational skills and trust that there isn't harm, just out of view. And depending on where my head is mentally, this can either be liberating or inhibiting. Will I trust my safety? Or fear unseen dangers? It doesn't take much to tip it either way.
One day, then a second day, of fog and I start to question myself. It's hard to gain clarity when you can't see the path. From experience I know the path is there but do I want to fight my fears to feel safe to walk it?
And then, in a New England minute, the fog rolls away and the most divine and glorious day is unveiled. I breathe a joyous sigh of relief. I can move forward with a sense of direction. There are wide expanses before me and so many directions I can't count. Everything is possible. That night, the sky is filled with a million stars I can't see most of the year. All is well and I am so happy to be home.
The next morning, the fog is back. And while it's still wonderful to be here, it's not as wonderful. Being in fog can be very disorienting. From experience, you know where things are - certain landmarks, for example. But you can't see them. It's back to trust. Trusting yourself and your own memory and intuition to guide you.
And it's a bit like homesickness. Needing to see those people and places that you remember, but time and space have relegated to foggy recesses. You know they are there, but just out of sight and reach. For me, it's about trusting that beneath the fog there is always a glorious day. If I can trust that, I can enjoy the beauty and stillness of the foggy days.