From the beginning of organized social behavior, humans have celebrated, worshipped, bemoaned, and been mystified by the passing of seasons, the spin of the earth, and the effects on our bodies and souls. From Loughcrew to Stonehenge, the Mayans to the Egyptians, and astronomers to astrologers — it is human nature to wants answers, reasons, explanations.
In this day and age, we know what causes the seasons. The words equinox and solstice are not new, and for most, they do little more than mark the passage of time. In our busy, social media enhanced lives, the autumnal equinox is a cue to google ‘best place to get pumpkins’, or to take your 1st day of Fall selfie. It can mean so much more.
As a meteorologist, the seasons impact me more than most. I deal with floods and severe storms in the Spring, heat waves in the Summer, a secondary tornado season and snow in Fall, and blizzards and bitter cold in the Winter. I mark the passage of seasons as part of my job — a time to shift my energies from one natural hazard to the next. A few years ago, I decided to embrace the change of seasons like my Viking ancestors. I have reclaimed the mystery, the soul of the seasons’ spin.
This year, we celebrated the Autumnal Equinox with pumpkins, a bonfire, and a dinner that was mostly harvested from our garden. We put our phones down, we turned the television off, and we spent time together, outside in nature. We partied like it was 700 AD. The kids picked flowers and tried to find colorful leaves. They climbed on a wood pile, and ate late season strawberries right off our plants. Lance and I watched them enjoy nature, watched them explore the changes that fall brings to the Earth.
Humans have forgotten the importance of the seasons because we no longer depend on them for harvest, hunting and shelter. Now we’ve got AC, heat, running water, cars, and grocery stores. That doesn’t mean that we have to let go of our past.
Autumn is a time to reconnect with yourself after the busy summer full of parties and sunshine, pools, and no school. Now it is time to get back into your routines, to focus inwards on what you want, and to buckle down and make it happen. It’s time to revel in sunshine with a cool Autumn breeze, and to revel in what little time we have left before winter moves in with it’s icy fingers.
What do you want? What changes do you want to make. How can you reconnect with the human need, the human desire to understand and celebrate what the Earth has to offer? Prioritize. Remember what’s important to you, and why. Teach your children that even though we live in a modern age, our ancient ancestors were proof that happiness can be found in the simple things.