You know those glasses that have lenses that transition to a darker color when faced with the sunlight, turning themselves into sunglasses? To me, this is what the month of September is like. The beginning of the month is often still quite warm, the sun is up around 6:45 am and sets about 8:00 pm. By the end of September and beginning of October, the sunrise is about 15 minutes past 7:00 am and the sun sets almost an hour earlier than right now. We are slowly transitioning to less daylight.
As the month progresses we start to pull out more warm clothes or perhaps put on a jacket. Many of us that live in ND and MN are likely to keep these additional layers at bay as much as possible, since we know that saying goodbye to our flip flops is at least a 6 month commitment. Yet, don’t you also notice that many of us also LOVE fall and welcome this change with open arms - pulling out those bulky sweaters like a child at Christmas?!
The leaves on the trees begin to change mid to late September and continue into October. The air becomes crisp and is a welcoming experience after enduring a summer that surpassed 90 degrees more than I can remember in recent history. To be frank, I think sweating just becomes a nuisance after a while. It was not unusual for me to take two showers a day during the summer. Cutting back on our water bill is a nice benefit to fall too. Not only because of the lawn that really took a dive due to the drought conditions but also because I can go back to showering once a day. ;)
How about the smells and tastes of September? The ubiquitous smell and taste of pumpkin is now released in coffee shops at the end of August. It’s too early for me. I wait until late September before I start to embrace pumpkin, just as September’s door begins to close. Continuing with the pumpkin theme, do you notice that the actual aroma is not something that most people like all year round? I have found this with my candle making. I need to make candle scents that align with the season we are currently in because most people don’t invite fragrances into their house from a season that does not match the current season. Think about it - do you have any scents resembling Christmas in your house right now? Yet, as fall turns to winter, we crave those scents! Some scents are welcoming all year round because they don’t necessarily align themselves with a season, like Rainier Dreams, A Barista’s Life, Into The Woods, Sage Advice, White Currant, and Hope.
Apples are another food that are harvested in September and the sweet crispness of these delicious fruits become more readily available in our own backyards. Other garden vegetables like carrots and beets, along with squash start to ripen, which means simmering, fragrant soups begin to become part of our meal routine again. I’m beginning to salivate just thinking about the earthy nurturing of these decadent and nutritious gifts.
This earthy nurturance is no mistake this time of year. It is actually very intentional and timed just right by Mother Nature for us to consume these vegetables this time of year as it helps ground us during a time of Vata. Vata is one of three doshas that are described in the science of Ayurveda, that defines the nature of individuals, foods, herbs, as well as seasons, (among other things) that are studied to keep us balanced with nature both in body and mind. Vata is the subtle energy associated with movement, composed of ether and air elements. Fall is marked by these elements of cool, rough, dry, and brittle. Yoga asana (poses/postures) that focus on forward bends like Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), Balasana (child's pose), seated twists, Janu Sirsasana (head to knee pose), Parshvakonasana (Side Angle pose), Virabhadrasana I and II (Warrior I and II poses), as well as Trikonasana (Triangle pose) and Garudasana (Eagle pose), are wonderful to help you feel more grounded this time of year.
Perhaps the biggest transition that takes place in September is Labor Day weekend, the seemingly official goodbye to summer for many people. This weekend is marked by gathering with family and friends for one more time on the boat, one more barbeque, one more dip in the lake or pool. It’s when we eat watermelon until we pee pink (actually - that’s what happens when you eat those garden fresh beets!) and when people with lake cabins often commence the closing of their summer respite. Kids are back in school this month and often into the full swing of activities that leaves parents’ heads spinning. We swing from the carefreeness of summer to the structure of the school year with biting whiplash.
No doubt about it, the fall transition is a big one. Maybe you love it and maybe you really dislike it. It’s not an easy transition and depending on how you feel about summer and winter, it may be a distraction or holding ground for what is yet to come or what has been left behind.
There is an opportunity every single day, every moment of every day, to transition to something else. To experience the present moment for what it is and regale in how it may be strikingly different from the last moment or maybe unremarkably the same. Transitioning between seasons does remind us that everything is always changing. Always. You are evolving and changing as a human, gaining new skills, experiencing new situations, and shedding parts of yourself that are no longer part of your story. We are all embarking on a new chapter, a new season - transitioning. This just happens to be one of those times of the year where from one week to the next our surroundings will change right before our eyes, just like those transition glasses….