I grew up going to New Hampshire a few times a year to visit family. We would pick blueberries and go camping in the summer, and stock up on maple syrup and admire the beautiful changing of the leaves in the fall. There is nothing else like a walk in the White Mountains - the smell of nature, especially in the morning; the colors on the trees so vibrant that not even a 96-color coloring box could cover it. Stunning.
Later, going to school in upstate New York, I got to experience it all again. Sometimes the crisp air and smells around me would take me right back to a cool morning, waking up inside the tent and pulling back the zipper to climb through and help start a fire.
It is because of experiences like these, and many others, that I have a profound appreciation and admiration for the fall. Many look around and see the changes around us just as falling leaves; "everything is dying". But I don't see the adjustment that way.
I think there's another way to look at it - an opportunity to learn from the wisdom of nature and apply it to our own lives. I see this time as a crucial moment of preparation - a time of introspection and an invitation to look inward and evaluate what is needed to get us through the winter.
We see animals doing this instinctually - they know within themselves that this is a really important time. The work that is done now will help them move through the future. I think we humans would do well to apply that same idea as we prepare for what's next in our own lives.
After all, the actual execution of a task is only one moment to test preparedness. It's everything that comes before the moment of action that matters - maybe the most.
Keep looking around. What else do you see?
Perhaps you notice the leaves falling - the trees dropping them away - letting them go. They have served their beautiful purpose and can now be put to greater use somewhere else. We could choose to take a page from nature's book here, too - what can we let go of that no longer serves us?
Keep searching - keep paying attention - keep being in the moment and appreciating what is around you; whatever that is.
Use the time this fall to nourish yourself from the inside out so that your winter can be all it should be.