If Keats says it’s the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness – then I would add that Autumn is also the season of soul walks and tears, deep dream-breaths and yearnings, hope and sadness in equal measure.
I walk through the woods amid the fallen apples in a glade previously undiscovered, the subtle scent of fruit and earth and leaves gently floating on the breeze reaching my nostrils and transporting me home. Not particularly to the home of my childhood, but the home of my soul – a woodland girl at heart, I am definitely a mover and an outdoor dreamer.
Whether walking in the closely quiet and bountiful clutter of trees, or on a downland with the sky for a ceiling, on a mountain with a whole world laid out before me or by the sea, with the salt air and open-ended waters calling me deeper, further – I am most connected to the quiet whispers of my heart, and to my God, in the stillness and noise of the natural world.
It is the place of comfort and challenge, the point where I feel the intangible throb of a living earth and ground solidly beneath my feet. Something away from the glorious chaos of my home, where the world keeps turning and I have nothing to do with it.
It’s something we all need.
So where do you go?
I find I crave the stillness and silence of the solitude, broken by birds and the wind in the leaves, the gentle crack and thump as another acorn or hazelnut falls. I need the place where I want to cry – sat in the loving caress of a numb backside on a tree branch and smell of life all around.
Sometimes I need to cry for my dreams, so muddled and oddly-fulfilled. I seem to know at my core who I am and what I need, yet it often feels out of reach. Away from the heartbeat of my home, my husband so kind, the children I love so fiercely and passionately a tiger couldn’t rival- there is a safety in the solitude, I don’t have to have it all together, I can let all the thoughts float to the surface – all the ‘who am I becoming?’ and ‘who do I want to be?’ questions – and begin to see what is mine, what matters and what I can surrender.
Each time a deeper well is unstopped, each time new streams appear out of old buried hills and caverns of my heart.
I need this space. It is not luxury but necessity.
I am not always clearer on the answers, but I come away with a quieter perspective, a sense that I am not washed up, but that there is still much life beneath the sleeping world.
I like who I am becoming. Mostly.
The parts of me that were brittle, start to snap under the weight of a heart longing to receive kindness well and to live from that place even more.
I walk to re-connect with the ‘Kind One’.
To bury my heart in His and cry for the moments this week where my kindness slipped, fell and grazed some people as it tumbled down the hill. My moments where love got muddled with control and people were hurt – sometimes those people were me and my image of me.
I weep for the ways I fall short, lose sight of my heart and miss the one who set it in motion.
I weep to receive forgiveness and ask for grace for the moments to come.
I weep for my fragility, but also for the strength I know I have, humbled by the beauty all around.
Stillness has to be fought for.
In the midst of daily life, I have to lay claim to these precious minutes, see them as a priority, or they will not materialise.
In the everyday muddle, who is the anchor for my soul?
So I lean into the muddle and listen, reaching for the hope-whisper and come away fuller.
With every walk, every moment of quiet pause, I feel the layers peeling away and know better who I am.
I am not alone in needing the space to breathe.
I imagine your head and heart are full too.
Where will you take the space today, what questions will you ask?
What kind answers will you hear?