November’s final days have brought rain.
Elsewhere in the country, people are losing homes and possessions to flooding. Here, in my corner of the fens, the rain is less dramatic, just a steady, incessant drizzle. A background drumbeat sounding the passing days of Autumn and the oncoming dark of Winter.
As the year draws to a close, yawning and preparing for sleep, thoughts turn Janus-faced, looking to past and future – to what was done, or not done over the growing active times of Spring and Summer, and what may or may not come in the year ahead.
If Samhain marks the dying of the old year, and Yule marks the birth of the new, then this time, these weeks of rain and darkness, cold and wind, are the liminal space between, the time of no time, the pause for breath.
We live in a society which hurries us on, on, on to the future, the next thing, and the next. It is also a society that spends half its time looking backwards, in the dangerous murk of nostalgia for the “good old days” that never were.
But we don’t live in the past, or the future. We live now, in the space between. Here, in the rain and the cold and the exhalation of November’s ending.
And in this moment, in these liminal times, there is magic.
Before the whirlwind of holidays and new year takes us, we can stop. And breathe.
This is a time of no time. A time for reflection, not on achievements stacked up like trophies, or regrets piled upon our shoulders like stones, but for reflection on those more intimate questions – who are we? What do we value? What do we need and what can we give?
While it may be trite, there is truth in the idea that autumn teaches us the beauty of letting go. As trees shed their leaves, and clouds their waters, it is time to think about gently letting go of that which no longer grows in our lives.
This time, where we are often forced indoors because of the weather, can be difficult for all of us, perhaps more so for those who follow a nature-based path. Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression increase with the darkness and cold, but I wonder how much of that is because our jobs and lives force us to keep going when our bodies and souls want to rest. Looked at another way, this time can be a blessing.
If you can, take some time now, in these last few weeks before the holiday season, to rest. Not working on a side project, or doing chores around the house, or even going out and socialising. Just rest.
A blanket, a book, a cup of tea.
Allow yourself to stop, and listen to the still small voice of your heart that knows exactly what you need to let go of.