Autumn feels like it’s well and truly here. I’m walking the dogs in the dark in the morning and a couple of times there has been frost glistening on the roof tops as I wander past.
The last blog I wrote was about tuning into my body and going with what it needs and that has continued to be what I am doing.
I’ve also spent as much time as possible at the bottom of the garden pruning back the trees there. I love the river at the bottom of the garden, we’ve swum in it, played in it, caught tiddlers and river shrimps and thrown sticks in it for the dogs to chase.
We wanted to know how to access the river more easily, so a lovely man came round from Natural Resources Wales and the first thing he said we should do was cut down the tree branches that hang into the river to stop the trees getting pulled into the river during the floods. He then told us to stick the willow branches we had cut into the ground in new places to keep the bank safe and finally told us to thin the canopy a bit to let the light in, but not too much as the birds love it down there.
So that’s what I’ve been up to in every sunny hour that I haven’t been working. I have an old saw that was my mum’s and I am doing it one branch at a time, one cut at a time, slowly. P, ever the pragmatist is eager to get the chain saw down there but I like to sit with the trees as I cut them and talk to them..( I know..). Cutting them by hand is hard work but it feels like it honours the time they have taken to grow.
So as I sit chatting to my trees and watch the golden leaves twist and tumble into the water, I am noticing what autumn means much more than ever. It is a time of cutting back so that there can be new and stronger growth in the spring. I am cutting off twigs to let in light. I am cutting off big branches which are heavy and could up root a tree if they next flood is too fierce. I want these trees to live and thrive and so sometimes that means cutting them back, even quite hard.
I also love that you can cut off willow branches and dig them in the soil and sometimes they take root, so from the old, the new..not just new life on an old tree, but a whole new tree..amazing.
So unlike this time last year when I was writing about my energy/drain line, this year I’m not cutting out or digging up the things in my life that drain me, instead I’m cutting back things that I love so that I can hibernate and they can survive the winter storms.
I’m a hummingbird, as Liz Gilbert describes; I like to go from one idea to the other pollinating them, helping out a bit here and a bit there, just having one thing in my life bores me; I like variety. But this autumn I’m really cutting back. Somethings will just die off if I don’t put any energy into them and other things have to be pruned.
There is a sadness in letting exciting projects go, or at least in putting them on hold. I feel like I might miss out, that other people will replace me, and the truth is, they might. It also feels a bit scary to cut back and there are some voices in my head of scarcity, ‘what if this chance doesn’t come again’, ‘what if you never work again’. Cutting back on things I love, is much harder than cutting back the things that drain me.
So why do it?
Because this autumn I need some rest. I need to go inside myself. I need to turn my energy inward. I need to take stock. I need to let in the light. I need to pull down the branches that are trailing in the water and rotting. I need to cut back so that the new growth in the spring is stronger. I need to let some things die to see what will grow in the spring. I need to let some things end and I need to hibernate from somethings to conserve energy through the winter.
I want to snuggle by the fire, I want to read, I want to stay in bed later as there is less to do, I want to watch the X factor with the kids, I want to bake cakes on dark winter nights, I want to soak in long hot baths. I want to take my time, to do yoga by candle light and to snooze on the sofa.
Because that’s what hibernation looks like for me.
- What does hibernation look like for you this autumn?
- What would you like to cut back or prune a little?
- Is there anything you want to withdraw energy from completely?