Nature’s change of season this time of year has gives me a welcome boost of energy, and inspiration to reflect. Among the hills here in Turkey, the change in the weather and energy is subdued, as the heats ease off and the lengthening darkness is a like a tonic after all the cleansing sweat of summer.
Autumn in some places is like the supple gate and sparkle in the eye of old folks who are youthful at heart. It is like the fifth limb of Ashtanga Yoga, in which we learn to take our energy and attention, and direct them inward. What a blessing.
Of the many places I have enjoyed autumn, the ones that are sticking with me over the years are those where nature is most vibrant. My observation has been that the qualities of nature definitely still reflect on the folks who choose to live in and participate in an ecosystem. Local culture is in a way an extension of the local ecosystem which can give us as visitors nourishment and energy.
I remember the striking transition from summer to winter on the shores of Lake Baikal, where the raw power of nature left me in awe. The Russians, of course, have an almost religious worship of autumn, as do many agrarian cultures of northern latitudes. The turn of season there is intense and foreboding; September felt to me as if God put time on fast-forward that month. Winter as it turned out, was not the end of life as it seemed, but an extended frozen wonderland with plenty of sun reflected on the white covered forests.
Folks living up high in the Rocky mountains as I once did, are already lighting their wood stoves and defrosting windshields this time of year. They are saying goodbye to the glorious summer of blue skies and afternoon thunder storms, the wildflowers and vibrant summer colors. They are also starting to look forward to the majesty of winter in those mountains.
The darkening slog of November, the post-Autumn and pre-Winter gap, is my least favorite time of year. I used to retreat to the boulders of the Joshua Tree desert, or seek solace in the deserts or Southeast Utah. This year we will see what November is like on the shores of the Mediterranean and be happy to be heading out to Mysore come December.