tl;dr – I like to run until I puke and salamanders are fucking awesome.
Letting the fugitive rest.
Sometimes it makes me go fallow. By sometimes I mean that I have no memory of it being any other way. From my first memory to this moment, fall has been my season of bedding down around the warm embers of self and incubating. It is the season of my heart. Wonderful bruised creature that she is, she takes personal inventory as the days cool and my blood slows and my actions become more determined.
I have this theory that I am less clumsy during the fall and winter months because I pay more attention to my body. I stop spinning frenetically outward and start winding in and gain spatial awareness. My asana practice becomes slow and methodic. I “go deeper” when I meditate, venturing down to the untouchable space of the seeker. I teach in a way that accommodates the cold dry weather and erratic temperature changes. I force pigeon to become everyone’s friend. (Okay. force is a strong word. Perhaps saying that I teach it every class is more apt.)
I go to ground.
I use this terminology a lot: Going to ground.
I think that this is because the term means more to me than simply finding one’s roots.
When I was a kid I used to pull fiery orange salamanders from the leaves covering my grandparent’s land. They would press up against the stone walls ringing the property, hiding in damp crevices, away from the light and the prying fingers of children. I had the patience and skill to suss them out and would spend hours quietly digging my fingers into the earth, searching for their soft bodies. I loved to hold them in my hands and watch for breath- their sides moving rapidly.The only sign of life I could find in their chill flesh. These creatures are chthonic, of the deep earth. A thing borne of darkness and housed in darkness and dying blissful in the darkness. This is what I think about when I tell you that fall makes me go fallow. I think about nests carved into the rocks and loam of New
England soil. I think of how the ground cups these creatures, suspending them in my memory – in illo tempore– personal knowledge of what being grounded and rooted means. It is that of a slick creature happily bedding down and knowing the pulse of the earth.
I like to wander well-established neighborhoods in the fall. Beneath “old growth” maple and oak trees, trees long ago uprooted and moved to this environment where they could never have thrived without cultivation. Colorado earth is red and rough and lacks nutrient value. Such forced migration gives these trees worth and worth allows for the love and attention afforded to those precious things we know that we could lose.I think about this kind of stuff as I meander and wonder what would happen if I ignored these coveted trees losing their foliage. If I failed to read their story writ large in the branches arching overhead.
Perhaps nothing at all.
I love that I can be here, in this place year after year and use it as a marker, a place of introspection. Every American town has an old neighborhood full of trees and there is no place that isn’t “here” during the autumn months (stop trying to rationalize this and just…suspend belief for a moment. All towns. All a tree). This season with its latticework of leaves dying off becomes my time of rest and recovery though the people closest to me would tell you that I never slow down – that the seeker in me is always chasing the tail of a new idea or picking at the edges of an old wound trying to learn more. To find out as much as possible about self and situation and space and time.
Being a seeker makes me a masochist . I say this because I believe that all seekers are masochistic. There is no “off” button whilst questing and those who are ” in search of” will tear apart body and soul to find the next layer. To press against the boundaries of the personal.
If you asked me why I would tell you it is because one day I will die and I don’t want to die without knowing that I pushed to be and know and do as much as possible. To give as much as possible. The pain doesn’t matter. This is partial truth – if I were to be fully honest I would also tell you this – I push because action unto itself is precious to me. I push because I need to know that an unassailable voice of “doingness” continues to inform the core of me. I push because I believe that past the breaking point of the determined soul there is another place deeper and broader than this layer of reality and action keys this lock. I push because in my world, the pain simply doesn’t matter. It does not matter until my body gives out or my heart decides that it must and that is a tricky thing.But then all heart stuff is tricky because there are no rules and I do not function well without rules.
All body stuff is simply lack of conditioning. This I can deal with.
I’m sure that you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that truly resting my body is difficult for me.Petite mort. Sleep comes sometimes. Day breaks and I wander. Night falls and I prowl. There are times in the ink dark of the night that I think perhaps I don’t know rest and am simply chasing the tail of a childhood memory of what rest is. Maybe I read it in a book somewhere Maybe I think that I should be burrowing into the earth with an eternal salamander smile.
Perhaps my action will be my death.
The rabbit hole of the restless soul my friend is considering the many facets of these things at 1 in the morning with the world teeming around you
I begin to think these things in the sweaty heat of summer- ferment them in me and then autumn comes and wraps my body with layers of frost. It chills my blood and bones and whispers things that make me take pause and relax tense muscles softly into the season. My heart, traveler of the cool edges of grounded space, pulls inward and shows me that the fullness of rest and recovery rides the back of these quiet months. I see that being exactly who I am in this space is wonderful juxtaposition of active self to passive self and that I can indeed house both.
So. Fall. The season in which I scoop out the dross of being alive in a chaotic world and allow for an overwintering of the soul. Fall. The cyclical equalizer of the Sara self. I swear one day that I am going to make “The Dictionary of Sara” and this will be the definition found therein.
That’s all I’ve got kids.
Till next time.
- Welcome Autumn (akissofbliss.wordpress.com)
- Mr. Autumn Man Walking Down Street With Cup Of Coffee, Wearing Sweater Over Plaid Collared Shirt (theonion.com)
- Appreciating Autumn (joyfullygreen.com)