“My sorrow, when she's here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane.” Robert Frost
A wonderful quote...it makes me pensive...along with the cool dark days, and the rain of fall. My rather pensive mood has led my hands to jot a few thoughts about the amazing season before us.
Autumn has a way about her, she feeds fire to one's soul. Fall is pure magic to me. There is something about the way winds shift, and the leaves fall, it's as if the season knows something we do not.
Summer has a way of dulling one's senses, especially if it's a rather hot summer. It seems to drag on and you long for cooler weather. It's so funny, and so slight the change, but suddenly as if a switch had been turned, everything starts it's metamorphosis. This brings out the baker in me...I made wheat bread and fresh peach pie yesterday. The girls, my daughter, and her best friend made chocolate chip cookies after school. The air just feels different, the sun starts to slide, the sounds and the smells...one would not need a calendar to know it's Autumn in Indiana.
I grew up on a 200 acre farm; 100 acres was nothing but woods and wetland. I was enveloped by the seasons. I experienced it with every sense possible. Time moved so slowly as a child. It's such a shame that we have to become responsible adults. As a child I remember planning wonderful birthdays for all my pets. Mud cakes, grass salads, and horse tank water. Say what you will but my German shepherd never complained about the food. ;) You would wake and take the day by storm, and you would not stop until you fell into bed that evening.
My woods was my "other world". Anything I could imagine lived in that woods, and I could be anyone I chose. As soon as I climbed the gate or ducked under the electric fence, my world transformed. It was also a place of great solace. I do not think there is a church where you can be as close to God as you can in nature; in the very essence of all that he created.
Interesting story about solace....I grew up on the back of a horse as well, practically learned to ride before I could walk. I started showing competitively at about age (8). Competitive I was, I had a fierce training schedule...because I liked to win! Horses are no different than athletes, you can over train. Whether you know this or not, animals get bored. Horses can become what we call "ring sour". You suddenly start to have issues with them that were never present before; they just appear. I had an amazing paint mare that I showed. She had been through some heavy training, was doing wonderfully, but then started to have an 'attitude'. A dear friend, and AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) judge, came out to the house one night for dinner. I told him what my mare had been doing, and that I didn't understand why. He asked about my regimen with her, how much time I was spending in the arena, etc.... He said I think she's bored, she needs a change of pace. He told me to not set foot in the arena for a month. He wanted me to spend the next 30 days doing nothing but trail riding in the woods. I was appalled, 30 days with no ring work...OMG!! Dad agreed with the with idea...it was like Moses coming down from the mountain, I now had my commandment to follow.
You know what, I needed the change as well. She and I started spending a couple of hours in the woods each night. We ran the hills, jumped logs, played in the swamp, and dodged Deer flies. We were both having fun again. You could feel her joy out there, in the woods....you could feel her excitement underneath you when she saw a hill, she knew I was going to give her her head and let her run. Her eyes would dance, unlike anything I had seen in her before.
After a month of just pure fun I came back to the arena and found a different horse. We were different together, we had bonded differently on our rides in the woods. She was right there for me, did as I asked her to do, and never complained once. I made it mandatory that we would ride at least one or two nights a week in the woods.
We all need that downtime, it's why kids need a summer break. As adults we seem to have the idea that if we are resting or enjoying ourselves, we are somehow less than, we are being lazy, non-productive. If I've learned anything this past year, it's about reconnecting with yourself, learning to let go of other's expectations. Think back to a time when you were most happy...what was it that made that time so different from the now? Chances are you were doing exactly what you wanted to do, you were living in the moment...the now. I bet you weren't concerned with what others thought, you weren't caught up in a bunch of man-made rules.
Sooo what is my point! I do digress... Autumn traditionally is a time to gather in the harvest, and prepare for winter. It's great time for reflection as well...what seeds have you sown this year, what harvest will you reap. I will say that I do not buy into the saying, "We reap what we sow". I have to tell you, with my farm background, what we reap has a lot to do with the weather as well. A favorable climate can do wonders for rather poor soil and cheap seeds! (That line should be the title of a book on the education system..don't even get me started!)
Take time to sit by a roaring fire, wear wonderfully warm woolen sweaters, pick apples, rake leaves, walk through a pumpkin patch, smell the crispness of the mornings and evenings, embrace the rain, bake, and dance in the wind. My hope for you....favorable climates no matter what you've sewn, and the chance to truly enjoy your harvest.
Oh and by the way...I've found another woods, a beautiful place, in Howe Indiana!! Bill and I go walking or running, depending on our mood. The trails are beautiful, the parks dept. need to be commended on this park. Pine Knob in Howe, check it out...but don't tell your friends, it's a nice secret right now and I like it that way...so do the animals!! ;)