This morning I woke up to the cold. The sort of cold that sits in my joints & constricts my synovial fluid tight against tendon and bone. The kind of cold where I KNOW that my body will groan when I reach my toes beyond the edge of the comforter and this in turn will remind me of my age.
So I didn’t.
For one more second I curled around my cats and felt their warmth tucked up into the eaves of my body and I allowed myself the sweetness of sleep. I almost never do this – make an allowance in the morning for sleep instead of asana or sadana and to do so felt like end of summer. The cold driving me back to slumber carried with it the smell of winter and on its coat-tails the ink dark nights that become ink dark mornings – cutting the days shorter and shorter. It reminds me that my days sweating beneath the sun will peel back and become days wandering through falling leaves – reveling in the smell – in the sounds that are tied to autumn. It reminds me that frost will lace across the front lawn and soon & I will have to slide shut my window for the season – keeping the bitter cold out and the warmth of flesh in.
I love the fall.
I adore most of summer, dislike winter, wax romantic in spring but fall, I slip into deep sloppy love with autumn every time it enters into my life. I have ALWAYS loved this season and I am starting to believe that this love was branded on my soul before I could walk or talk or even breathe independently.
These are days turned to weeks where you will find me sitting amongst the rustling branches of a tree. (Yes. In a tree.) Or standing in the middle of the street, head cocked to one side watching squirrels forage winter food. You’ll find me leaning backwards, arms spread into the strength of an autumn wind. Trusting that I will not spill to the ground. During the falI I wear skirts with leg warmers so I can feel the cooling air on my thighs. Scarves begin to appear flung over bannisters and chair backs, waiting to twine around my neck and face in homage to the season.
( Ok ok. Those of you who know me know that I wear a scarf pretty much every day. I mean like…more scarves. Lots more scarves).
I drink warm tea and read to the end of a fading day- reveling in how the sunlight slants across the pages – luminous and otherworldly. I run slowly because there resides far too much beauty in how the world begins the slow process of lulling itself to sleep to do it fast. So much beauty that I have no idea how I function in “the adult world” when the leaves begin to change from green to burnished brown and red and yellow and all I want to do is find a crayon and mark their lacy veins and edges on crisp white paper. I do not think that one could conceive of a greater torture for yours truly than confining me to windowless room for the length of fall.
*Sara crosses her fingers and prays that she has made no real enemies in this life.*
Fall is my ancient season –I believe to the pitted core of my being that I hold an evolutionary self – developed over slow-moving years and that she knows things. So yes – I’m throwing tabula rasa out the window – vive l’inconscient collectif. She knows how the earth parsed itself together, about the glow of planets and sky before man became a slow thrum of fire and life crawling along a fertile strip of the Euphrates. She knows that flecks of silver mixed in red earth are star-dust.
This is layer upon layer of understanding:
Mine and my mother’s and her mother’s back and back and back to the times of Pangaea and gigantic creatura and glacial ice bridging the vastness. This self knows that a cold morning is directly related to sluggish blood and the drive to insulate the body with layers of fat and dreams. This self exists deep in the reptile brain and cups so.much.knowledge. This self helped write the stories of the world onto each strand of my DNA as my body clicked together in the womb. This deep part whispers tales to me about the roots of my beginning and I listen because… how could I not?
It is always just a moment.
These are the moments that make my life. Moments slipped between responsibility and recreation when I attune completely with self. I can feel my muscles bunch around the node of an old idea, my pupils dilate my breath comes faster and it is only the ego self – the super ego perhaps – that keeps me giving my whole self over to the call of the woods – to the call to forage-to race one last time through the yawning wild like a hound. Sometimes the call is too great for the rational part of my cortex to control and I disappear. I answer the call silently and I think that the aloneness of this action is what makes it a particularly intense and special moment. Fall happens to be a trigger for these sorts of moments and to have this in my life I will be forever fucking greatful.
When I was little gangly Sara I fell in love with humanity, There was this section at my local library, in a far back corner where oversized books covered in opaque protective plastic wiled away their days waiting for discovery. I discovered and the books split open my head and dumped in the beauty of other worlds. Other cultures, myths and morals. Other climates and conditioning. It was here that I learned the names of what my body already knew. I learned the places and the colors and the tastes. (Have I mentioned that I have an issue with living vicariously through books?) I became awake to the fact that I COULD know – that someone else had the same ancient need to discover and did and then wrote it down. When one speaks of Halcyon this is what defines the term for me. Sitting in a dusty corner or outside of the family house digesting this knowledge. Halcyon my friends. Guess when this pivotal series of moments occurred? You are oh so quick padawan; it was indeed the beginning of fall.
Much love and light.
I have to give credit to Loren Eiseley for this. His prose makes me want to vomit pretty words. Check it:
“…A few years later, when I touched her hair in farewell at the beginning of a journey from which I would not return to see her alive, I knew she had saved my sanity. Into that lonely room at midnight she had come, abandoning her own sleep, in order to sit with one in trouble…Grandmother knew nothing of psychiatry. She had not re-established my sleep patterns, but she had done something more important. She brought me out of that dark room and retied my thread of like to the living world”. – Night Country
- Fall to Winter, Easing the Transition (joyofspa.com)