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How Summer Helped Me to Get Ready for Fall and Winter

As the days shorten, the sunny hours become more precious. I grab a hold of them as if they are a lifeline strung between me and the darkness that increasingly envelops me as the days roll toward the winter solstice. It resembles a slow drowning into the depth of the season.

Taking a sunny afternoon walk, I reflect on everything that happened in the last six months of light, travel and a long hiking season. Did the spring and summer seasons transform me?

New neurons fill my brain. They formed as I walked, balanced, climbed and moved – day in, day out – on the trail. New synapses connect the neurons and help me balance, judge distance and calculate my step with ease.

I am sure-footed, my knee swells no more after a four-hour hike and my back is straighter from carrying the pack. Also, the thoracic bulging disk, poking out after an over-enthusiastic swing-up-overhead of a sweep rowing boat, seems to have receded.

I gained confidence this summer. I can still use my body in ways I feared I had lost.

The produce of my spring and summer garden nourished my body. Working the soil gave me movement and joy, eating the produce gave me health, taste and delight in the bounty of nature.

Each time a new crop was produced, my taste buds exploded. There was an abundance of fresh peas and fava beans, tender lettuce, chewy bitter spinach, deep flavored greens cooked or torn raw into salads.

There was buttery broccoli, red cabbage made into bright red sauerkraut, new potatoes melting in my mouth, fresh sweet strawberries, sour currants, endless sweet grapes, sun-ripened plums, tart and sweet fleshy apples.

Taste and nutrients fed my health and my soul.

The new sights I saw and the people I met on the way transformed me. International interactions challenged the language centers of my brain, and shared experiences fed my sense of belonging.

Family connections renewed themselves in a touch, a cheek-to-cheek, a small hand in mine. The view of open spaces, dense forests, snowfields, waterfalls, ridge upon ridge beckoned me to go on living.

I feel whole and healthy. The waves of summer experiences washed over me again and again. I went back for more timeless play, like a child in the ocean waves.

The waves were the call to life, curling in on themselves, breaking over me and retreating to bring new energy. The energy and light washed me. I am filled with life.

Does our life energy wane when we are in the latter phase of our life? As I gain in years, I am living deeper and experiencing more joy, as if I expand into the greater universe. Can we expand with delight into the great nothingness? I wish it were so.

This summer season put me firmly on my living feet, gave me delight in having a body, helped me savor human connection and filled me with stories to share in the deep of winter. As the dark hours increase, I will dream about people and places I want to touch, meet and absorb.

The fullness I feel right now will be my nourishment for the winter months. Oh, and the dried fruits, the spicy salsa, the rich pesto flavors in my pantry will remind me of summer, light-filled days and hold me over till there is more. A brisk walk or ski run will let my heart soar in movement and a glittery white landscape.

Fall colors and winter’s icy forms can equally stimulate the neurons and delight the senses. More than one good season is still ahead.

Do you experience a surge in life energy from summer living? What did you learn this summer that helped you prepare emotionally for the fall and winter months ahead? Please share your thoughts with us!

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