Sunday, 25 September 2011

My Ode to Autumn

  "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom friend of the maturing sun"      (John Keats)

 At the start of a new season, as it is now, I feel the need for a re-assessment of our family life and our home.  For a few years now it has been important to me that my children have a real awareness of what is happening right now in the natural world.  In my journal I write about the things I would like us to do  as a family during the particular season, places we would like to visit for autumnal walks,  creating an autumn nature table together, making fun plans for Hallowe'en and Bonfire Night.  I also take this time to think about what items we need to add to our wardrobes for the coming colder days, I think about what autumnal foods I would like to make (I'm thinking soups, stews and lots of apple puddings as we have a mountain of apples to get through) and I think about plans for my garden, planting bulbs for the spring is a priority right now.   Each season I display photos, drawings and poems about that season on the kitchen wall.  We can sit at the table and reflect on that same season from previous years, enjoy my children's drawings and be inspired by people who can put in to words the essence of the season much better than I can, i.e. Keats and Blake.  We collect pinecones, conkers, acorns and other treasures from nature for our autumn table.  Sometimes they sit there gathering dust, sometimes they are employed in a game of 'lets feed the animals'.

  With the idea of gratitude in mind I also like to acknowledge the particular gifts of the season.  The pumpkins growing in the garden (looking forward to my first ever pumpkin pie), to blackberry picking, winter pansies and violas, to sunny days like today when you can really start to feel the nip in the air and need to wear wooly jumpers and cardis.  And so our lives move on with the season, we return to work, school and nursery after a long summer break.  We return to routines, swimming lessons, rushing out of the door in the morning, only to return because I've forgotten school bag, water bottle, reading book...... In the midst of all this though I don't want to ignore what nature is doing, quietly going about her business decorating the trees with gold, russet and amber, tossing around those conkers for us to collect, swelling the pumpkin for us to eat and carve in to a scary face.  I imagine nature gently laughing at me as I race around from one very important thing to the next, trying not to forget anything, trying to remember to say thank you, trying to do my best.  She does't race around, she gets it all done, so effortlessly and so beautifully each season.

 Our Autumn table.  Bringing in a little of Autumn's abundance so that we can feel the connection with what is going on in the natural world.  Children are already so deeply connected with nature I believe.  The way in which they will play with water, sand, mud, the way my girls play so freely and joyfully when we go up to the North Downs or play in the gardens at RHS Wisley.  Most of all I would like that my children have a sense of celebrating and embracing all that the season has to offer.  I want my children to grow up with a strong connection to nature and its cycles so that their souls as well as their bodies will be nourished by all that each season has to offer.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this beautiful post. As someone with a busy life I particulary loved the image of Mother Nature quietly going about her autumn work. Not complaining or bemoaning how much she has to do. Simply getting it done with joy in her heart. Thank you, you interrupted my behaviour and got me reconnected with what is important. Can't wait for your next post!