2006-10-20 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

Expect Fall
Commentary By Dr. Nancy Gahles


DR. Nancy gahles
DR. Nancy gahles I spent the weekend in Alexandria Virginia, in the midst of a beautiful autumn. The weather was chilly enough in the morning to encourage me to put on a sweater even though I knew that the warm afternoon sun would warrant the layering off and the carrying thereof. That fact did not dampen my enthusiasm one bit. These extremes in temperatures are a facet of fall that is exhilarating to me.

I wondered at the way in which each tree changes it's colors and sheds it's leaves in a different timing. This is the stuff of childhood memories. and home schooling. I remember the discussions of chlorophyll and the way it rescinds from the leaves and lays bare the other chemicals as it prepares for hibernation within the trunk of the tree. We always made the analogy of bears hibernating and we, ourselves, snuggling inside by a fire. We traced leaves and glued them on colorful construction paper to celebrate the turning of the season.

The turning of the season requires time to prepare for the transition. We harvest, we store and we lay down our wares for the winter ahead so that we will be prepared for cold, harsh weather wherein we will not be able to grow our food.

That being said, I was shocked when I heard the news that Buffalo, NY had been hit by a snowstorm of two feet that had crippled the city. It is always shocking when something happens unexpectedly and you are not prepared for it. In this case, what was most interesting to me was that the city was crippled, not so much because of the snow but because of the trees! The devastation to the city occurred because the trees had not lost their leaves yet and the weight of the snow on the branches caused them to break and fall onto power lines. Downed trees and their branches put the city into an electrical outage that paralyzed it.

Through all my years of studying science, I never considered this as a good reason why leaves must fall in order to prepare for winter. It makes good sense to take a lesson from nature. As we move from season to season or from one cycle to another, we need to divest ourselves of all the outer trappings that may hinder our ability to live in the next moment.

Consider what your next phase will consist of and then decide what you need to take with you. The sunscreen, umbrellas, bathing suits and coolers of the summer will not serve you during the winter months. Store them away. Take out the warm coats, fuzzy sweaters and boots that keep you dry. When you do not act in accordance with the signs of the times, you may get caught unaware by an early storm and the results could be disastrous. Of course, this is the analogy for all spheres of your life... body, mind, emotion and spirit. Anticipate the changes, watch for the right timing of transition, take only what you need, make space for the present and trust that the next cycle will contain all that you need to survive and to flourish. Those who are vividly aware of the splendid gifts of nature and the grace which endows us will find that they are more vibrantly alive and able to respond with enthusiasm to Life in all it's seasons.

May The Blessings Be!

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