29 Sep AN ODE TO AUTUMN
Although there is a lot to love about freshly fallen snow, newly blooming flowers, and hot summer days, the changing colours of autumn make it the best season. The fall season brings vast blue skies, crisp, fresh air, and a radiant sun that burns cold instead of hot. Smells of pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and apple pie fill the air. Autumn reintroduces Thanksgiving turkey, knitted sweaters, and candy corn.
I have always viewed autumn as the perfect time to make a change in my life, let go of something, and acknowledge the impermanence of everything. As summer fades away into fall, the earth begins its transformation in preparation for winter, the temperature begins to drop while gold, orange, and red leaves carpet the earth. The emergence of autumn also coincides with the beginning of a new semester.
This year, there isn’t a single aspect of life that hasn’t been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The year started with a major change in everybody’s life that put us in stagnation for months. Now that the new semester has started, we’ve had to adapt to a new challenge: virtual learning. Many people probably don’t want to think about making changes this season because they’ve already experienced too many changes this year.
For me, I was expecting a lot of changes. Starting my second year, I was looking forward to really diving into my major. I don’t need to go into detail that pre-recorded lectures and Zoom meetings with spotty connections are frustrating, I’m sure many of you feel the same. I also haven’t returned to Kingston for this semester, I was supposed to start a new job with Residence Life but it made more financial and practical sense for me to stay home. I don’t particularly enjoy studying in my room, I like to have the background noise of a coffee shop or the atmosphere of a library. Because I am not at Queen’s I’m not able to visit my favourite study spots which I’ve found has an effect on my study habits. I am also working as an events planner for Queen’s Advocates for Women’s Global Right, but there aren’t going to be any events. On one hand, everything has changed because of the pandemic but on the other hand, I feel I’ve been stuck in the same rut for six months. As the leaves start to change and fall from the trees, consider picking up a new hobby, starting daily meditation, or getting a new haircut. Although I believe autumn teaches us that change is an inevitable part of life, I can understand that most people have had enough changes in their lives this year.
As you watch the leaves falling from the trees and fluttering to the ground, observe that the cycle of the changing seasons is mirrored in our own lives. Autumn is a time for letting go and releasing things in your life that have been a burden, it is a time to let go of the things in your life that are holding you back. Take a look at the trees, their leaves work hard all spring and summer to sustain the tree, but when the leaves are no longer needed the tree freely releases them. Use the beginning of a new season and new semester to allow yourself to be free of everything burdening you.
Autumn also reminds us that everything can be temporary, having witnessed the budding of life in spring and the flowerings of summer. Acknowledging the impermanence of everything can be both calming and unsettling. Autumn reminds us that neither bad situations or good ones last forever. The changing of the earth during this season makes us appreciate the beauty all around us, it urges us to push through the tough times and appreciate the good ones. The things we love and appreciate won’t be around forever nor will we be around forever to love and appreciate them, autumn challenges us to live each day to the fullest.
This season I’ve decided to make the best of a bad situation. Instead of feeling disappointed that I’m not in Kingston, I’m being grateful that I get to spend time with my family and high school friends. I’m trying to see the positives in remote learning; I have a flexible schedule, I can pause lectures and watch them as often as I need, and I don’t need to wake up for 8:30 classes. I will spend autumn making small changes like trying to read more, drink more water, and meditate daily. Appreciating the little things in my life and not worrying too much about the future that I get lost in the present is also something I’m focusing on. I’m using this time to let go of all the stress and anxiety of the past twelve months that came with moving to a different province, starting university, and the pandemic.
This autumn while you’re drinking your pumpkin spice latte, carving a Jack-o-lantern, walking through the fallen leaves, or dreaming about Homecoming take a moment to appreciate the season in a deeper sense. Breathe in the crisp air and sit quietly while you contemplate the changes you’ll make in your life, the burdens you are going to let go of, and the things in your life that are only temporary. Use the most wonderful season to reflect on how you want the new year to go, before the last leaf hits the ground.
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/678706606338990799/?nic_v2=1a725MhL5