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Autumn health, transitioning from summer to fall

Free Press Article – Friday, October 19, 2012

Dr. Paula L. King

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” — William Cullen Bryant Wednesday, Sept. 22, was host to the Harvest Moon, the biggest, brightest full moon of the year. This moon has special significance because it marks the end of the summer harvesting season. It heralds a time of abundance, a time to spend with family and friends and a time to harvest the results of the hard work put into the past months.

For farmers it is harvesting crops, and for farmers and non-farmers alike, it can be a time of reflection on personal growth and “harvesting the fruits” of inner growth. This can also be a time of preparing to live differently with self and others, a time of letting go, letting fall away that which is not healthy and preparing to take on that which is life giving. Autumn represents a time to begin to focus on internal cultivation.

The autumn equinox is a balance between dark and light, when day and night are of equal length and is the time when summer has ended and preparation for the long days of winter is upon us. It is said to be a time of impending death, a death required in order for something new to emerge in the spring.

As autumn suggests, we are required to let go in order to take on new growth and personal development. There is a period of darkness following any ending, and coming prior to the beginning of something new. A period of barrenness and grief is natural when you let go of something you have valued enough to hold on to in the first place. Yet, the human spirit rejoices at the balance found this time of year with many proclaiming: “This is my favorite time of year!” I believe it is much like the feeling of peace that comes for many as darkness approaches and preparations are made to lay down for a restful sleep. We reawaken refreshed and energized for the dawn of a new day in our life.

Clearly, autumn is upon us and beckons us outside to enjoy the brisk air, the blazing colors, and to be appreciative of the beauty of external life. Perhaps it can also be a call to reflection about the abundance of the riches in our internal life, our health and well being, and a time to recognize that it is essential to life to let go of that which is no longer working for us, and prepare to take on new attitudes, behaviors and beliefs that serve us in a more healthy way.

Autumn is a time of symbolic controversy with some seeing it as a time of maturity and wisdom and others seeing it as old age, but before sickness and death. How do you choose to see it? I choose to see autumn like Samuel Butler in “The Way of the Flesh” when he said: “Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.”


Dr. Paula King is a psychologist in private practice at Healing Horizons Integrated Health Solutions. She may be reached at 970-256-8449.

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