It’s windy these autumn days – or as Pooh would say, rather blustery. For two days straight the fall leaves are stripped from their trees and flung about, pine cones come rattling down as small branches snap and larger ones fall. I wake jolted in the middle of the night to what sounds like pebbles against my window – but it’s simply the rain coming horizontally against the glass as the wind storm continues. In the morning, debris from the trees is a carpet on the road, and it smells like the forest, all piney and like sap.

The season has definitely shifted from the hot dry summer. The chill, the rain, the leaves, oh the leaves! I start to miss the brightness that’s soon to end with maybe just a few more windstorms, this brightness that sometimes makes me squint my eyes against the vibrancy. The oranges, the yellows, and those excruciatingly bright bright reds that make me almost forget that the sun is hidden now behind gray rainclouds. The sun is hidden now but I almost forget that during these days of squinting my eyes against the brightness of the leaves. I squint my eyes and then squint them again as the sun actually does emerge, making every surface glisten from the rain. I start to miss this brightness that will soon end.

Metaphors abound this season – it’s the season of letting go as the leaves let go, of pulling back one’s splendor and preparing to rest. What speaks to you?

Perhaps this season of fall vibrancy and chilly weather, blustery days and debris-strewn streets makes you somewhat sad. Sit with that sadness and pull the power of metaphor in to deepen your experience. “Liz,” you might be saying right now, “why would I intentionally want to sit with and even deepen this sadness?” And I respond as if you were my client – that it’s just a suggestion, that you get to decide. Metaphors have such power, and you might learn something transforming about yourself.

Examine the changing trees for a few minutes. What are you noticing? Maybe it’s how some of the leaves cling tenaciously to their branches, reluctant to let go until that last wind storm of the season. Maybe it’s how the leaves on the trees, although many are gone, make you squint your eyes at their brightness. Maybe it’s the variety of leaves on the ground – how you’ve never really noticed how many there are and how different they are, or maybe you’re noticing how similar they are. Maybe it’s the brown sodden leaves you’re noticing, how they no longer crunch when you walk on them. Or maybe you’re looking at (as I am this very minute) your old apple tree out back and realizing that although most of the other trees are almost bare, this one has only just started changing color.

Now tune in with yourself and pull what you’ve noticed into a parallel with your life by asking yourself if any part of you or your life resembles what you’ve noticed. If you’re noticing those last tenacious leaves, you might ask yourself whether you’re clinging tenaciously to anything. What is it? What wind storm will knock it finally free? What things do you easily release? What things do you hope never to release? Asking and reflecting on these types of questions puts a different perspective and focus onto issues that, honestly, you might never think about, and provides a wonderful opportunity to be in touch with the present moment of the season while giving yourself the opportunity of self-exploration. 

It’s the wind that is stirring me on this wet and blustery autumn day. I start with remembering the jolt of almost-fear in the early hours of the morning as the storm flung itself at the house, and then the relief when I realized that it was just the rain. I think with appreciation of the solid house that protected me. Deeper, Liz, deeper. I think of the storms that have flung themselves at my life and reflect on the things that have kept me safe, things that have gotten me through to this moment now, typing my experience on this blog. Things like my friends, my family, my work. Deeper, deeper. Things like the absolute love for my daughters. Deeper. Things like my strong boundaries, and my amazing mother who instilled these strong boundaries into each of her five daughters. Deeper, Liz, deeper. I go into my core sense of self and feel radiating from my being a gratitude so profound that it seems almost excruciating and I metaphorically have to squint. As I squint, I find myself starting to miss this brightness that so soon will end, and wonder if it actually does have to come to an end.

What’s stirring in you as you contemplate autumn?