I’ve been thinking lately about how this time of year is aptly named. The Fall. Leaves fall, seeds fall, light levels fall and now the clock has fallen back, too. A fall brings up images of a descent. I am reminded of the story of Persephone and her descent into the underworld when she hears a voice calling from a cleft in a rock. What she is hearing is her own inner voice calling to her and thus the story is about her own descent into her inner world. The descent inward is presented in the story as a descent down.
This is a classic story of the cycle of the seasons. When Persephone descends, her mother, Demeter, is bereft without her. Since Demeter is the Goddess of the harvest and growth and abundance, her grief at her daughter’s disappearance plunges the world into a dormant time, autumn and winter. Persephone’s return from her inner journey causes spring to arrive and there is much celebrating as the world bursts and blooms with new growth.
So, this falltime is the time of gathering up everything from outside and bringing it inside. It is a time to sit by the fire and dream and go on our inward journey like Persephone.
Yesterday I went for a walk in the woods and at the place in the path where I would normally turn one way, I turned the other way and climbed Peppercorn Hill. The ascent was rocky and steep in some places but I found that if I just thought of placing one foot in front of the other, one small step at a time, I eventually reached my goal. The top of the hill. I breathed in the fresh, crisp air and looked out over the trees, many of which now poked bare branches up towards the wide blue sky. Some trees still held onto their leaves, golds now turning buttery brown, oranges and reds now turning deep russet.
After drinking in this magnificent view, I turned and started my descent, slowly and surely, one step at a time. The descent is rocky and full of twists and turns and hiding places. Taking it one step at a time, I am able to look at these obstacles and negotiate my way around them.
During my descent, another group of hikers came up on the path behind me. As they got closer to me, I felt an urgent need to descend faster, almost like their presence was pushing me to complete my journey quicker than I wanted to. I took another deep breath and stayed on my path, one step at a time. I allowed myself to let their journey not intrude upon my own, a challenging task at times. The funny thing is that they never caught up to me.
I finally reached the bottom of the hill and felt lighter and renewed from my journey on the hill. After all of that traveling and thinking, it was time to go home and brew up a nice steaming cup of tea.