Slowing Down For Autumn

The concept of new starts always arrives hand in hand with January 1st as the New Year rolls out with the clock's final chime. Despite that, the bleakness of January doesn't always inspire the optimistic positivity that we might hope for. I think there's a second new start though, and it comes a little more graciously and with a lot less flamboyance. September arrives with the retreat of summer, more quietly and calmly than we might expect and with it comes the second chance we might be yearning for after the boldness of a long summer.

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As temperatures begin to even out, I always find a soothing satisfaction when things start to slow down a little and a chill creeps back into the air with nimble fingers. Alongside that runs another more ineffable sense of freshness. Maybe it's the new academic term that carries with it my inexplicable love affair with crisp notebooks and sharpened pencils. I'm sure I revel in this feeling a lot more now that I'm not actually returning to school myself but there's something oddly attractive about the idea of a new school year ahead. More than that, September signals the arrival of a changing weather, as leaves begin to darken and fall and everything hums with the anticipation of a change in the air.  Just like a catchy song, I find it infectious and I drift easily into admiring the changing colours. What else might change now? What might the next season hold for me?

September also brings us closer to the autumn equinox, which this year falls on the 23rd of the month. After that day, the nights begin to extend a little longer and though this heralds a longer darkness it always seems somehow soothing to me too. It offers a time to recharge ourselves, rest a little. Like seeds begin the surface, the beginning of autumn can signal a time to go inward and then grow out. Autumn is a time of change, a gateway to the next season and while for some Autumn seems the gateway to an ending, I want to check in with that transformative part. It does define the end of summer and soon the entrance of winter with cold days and long nights but for me though, it isn't about ending but about beginning the next cycle.

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It's a period that reflects reality because we all move through these cycles and as autumn starts to slow us down it also reminds us of the importance of taking things more slowly, of savouring the smaller moments. It's a time to shed what might no longer be needed, to harvest and cherish what we do need and to prepare for all that we want to come. It could be a time to reconnect with friends and families during cosier nights in or a time to enact an autumn clean and reflect and focus on the projects that might have been forgotten in the heat of the summer or even begin a new one.

Autumn always reminds me of how transitory things are and though it can bring a sense of loss to watch the summer fade, it also carries a reminder that can keep us mindful. It reminds me that just as the seasons will change so will we and that (clichéd though it may be to say) everything is temporary and that doesn't have to be a negative thing. We can use this to remember that even the hardest things will come to pass and that what can seem as insurmountable or as dark as a long winter night will come to pass too. It encourages me to try and live in the moment and appreciate what I have. We're so linked to the natural cycles around us and Autumn is a fitting reminder that everything, including us, has both highs and lows that we can keep on moving and progressing through.

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AutumnContributor