Fall Experience #1 – Seasonal Check-in

Way back in the springtime, I blogged about how to experience ‘place’ using our senses. It’s time to experiment with that again, this time with autumn in mind.

So much of my connection with nature has to do with taking the time to be ‘in’ nature. I’m the first to admit that it’s not always pleasant – but it’s ALWAYS worth it. A feeling of being truly alive comes with an experience outside in nature. For me, I feel that Life is happening Now when I’m outside. The experience is not cushioned by the presence of four walls and a roof or climate controls (a/c or heat). Instead, there is opportunity to use my senses and learn about the natural world.

In the sensory walk earlier this year, I recommended visiting four places in the same area, and closing your eyes at each place to expand your senses of hearing, smell, taste and touch. (Our vision tends to monopolize our sensory experiences.) I have also recommended experiencing your senses at different heights; your normal height, waist high, knee high and on the ground. Your sensory experiences will be completely different at each of those levels.

So, today, I’m heading out to one of my favorite places on my little acre. Sheltered by post oaks and black walnut trees, there is a clearing at the bottom of a slope. This clearing is open to the north wind, but protected by the slope from southerly breezes.

Today, clouds fill the sky. Rain is possible later, but for now the day is only gray, with the greens of early autumn subdued. Only a few trees have dropped their leaves. I sit on the small timber bench and look up through a maze of black tree limbs.

A bird twitters, a lone honeybee buzzes as it flies past. Rustling sounds in the dried leaves (leaves probably dropped during the summer drought when the trees were stressed by the extreme heat) could be a lizard, or a cricket.
A frisky breeze plays over my face and touches my hair. The breeze carries the scent of sycamore from down the street. A faint smell of gasoline swirls around – earlier my neighbor used a gas-powered chain saw to cut up a fallen tree. Even more faint is the scent of the bare earth at my feet.
Minutes tick by, and gradually the press of worldly concerns drops away. A feeling of being truly present and aware takes over. Each second of time has value, sharpening my senses, expanding my appreciation of this planet we live on. The feeling is so wonderful that I ask myself, why don’t I do this every day? I have no answer.

Have you had any fall nature experiences yet? Take time out to have one today.

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