Tonight is the night
When dead leaves fly
Like witches on switches
Across the sky,
When elf and sprite
Flit through the night
On a moony sheen.
Tonight is the night
When leaves make a sound
Like gnome in his home
Under the ground,
When spooks and trolls
Creep out of holes
Mossy and green.
Tonight is the night
When pumpkins stare
Through sheaves and leaves
When ghoul and ghost
And goblin host
Dance round their queen.
I spot the hills With yellow balls in autumn. I light the prairie cornfields Orange and tawny gold clusters And I am called pumpkins. On the last of October When dusk is fallen Children join hands And circle round me Singing ghost songs And love to the harvest moon; I am a jack-o’-lantern With terrible teeth And the children know I am fooling.
This month, I am working on letting go of resentment, unforgiveness, guilt, and other negative mindsets that have weighed me down for too long. As someone who went through a midlife upheaval three and half years ago, I had some stuff I was carrying and I knew it was time to lay it down. (I created the October Release Set for this reason.)
You also may have woken up one day recently and decided it was time (like I did), or you may have been working on letting stuff go for years. If you’ve just started this journey, you’re in good company. And as long as you set your intention and are moving toward letting go, that’s all you need to do. Whether it takes a moment or years will be your individual story.
You may receive talk therapy or counseling through all or part of your journey. You may keep a journal. You may read books to help you understand the process. You may join a group. You will find that taking long walks, gardening, and just being in nature will help you heal.
So what steps am I taking, you ask? As a support to my own process, gardening has been a very healing experience. To engage in a reciprocal relationship with the earth, to care for plants, to give back has helped my soul to mend. The trees and herbs especially, with their gentle strength, have been my plant companions during this rather quiet year.
One book on this very subject is The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us by Emma Mitchell. It’s a month-by-month look at how one woman experienced nature’s healing as she struggled with depression. This book has beautiful watercolor and natural flat lay collections throughout, and the writing makes you want to be in the English countryside with her. Oh, and the book starts with the month of October so it’s a brilliant time to read it!
What else am I doing besides spending time with nature? I’m taking my Oregano Flower Essence every day and using the Release essential oil blend. Why? Because, as I mentioned above, plants can aid us as we heal emotionally and mentally.
Cypress (one of the oils in the Release blend) has particularly been a close ally over the past several years since my divorce. Whenever I’ve been overwhelmed by sadness, I have used Cypress in my diffuser with a few other oils such as comforting Lavender, cheerful Sweet Orange or Grapefruit, and grounding Vetiver. And within a half hour, the cloud lifts and my outlook on life is much more positive.
The other intentional action I’m taking is that every day in the mirror I speak out what I am releasing and who I am forgiving (including myself). As new hurts come up, I do my best to deal with them right away, rather than adding them to the pile. Because new hurts will come up, particularly with close family or friends…(I am NOT talking about abuse, just everyday interactions with family members that can cause hurt.)
Another extremely helpful action I took this month was to read Desmond Tutu’s The Book of Forgiving to gain some insight into the process. He lists four steps on the path to forgiveness: Telling the Story, Naming the Hurt, Granting Forgiveness, and Renewing or Releasing the Relationship. It was helpful for me to learn that we can straddle two steps, or go forward and then go backward as we work through the process. It can be short or it can take months or years for this process to be accomplished. It’s different for everyone and we can take all the time we need.
As you work on your own inner healing, know that you are surrounded by others who are walking the same path you. Get counseling if you can, read books, talk to a spiritual director or other mentor, journal, wrap your arms around the maple in your backyard, put plants on your windowsill and flowers on your table. And most of all, be kind to yourself.
*Affiliate Links: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you.This helps with the costs of running the blog ad-free.
O hushed October morning mild, Thy leaves have ripened to the fall; To-morrow’s wind, if it be wild, Should waste them all. The crows above the forest call; To-morrow they may form and go. O hushed October morning mild, Begin the hours of this day slow, Make the day seem to us less brief. Hearts not averse to being beguiled, Beguile us in the way you know; Release one leaf at break of day; At noon release another leaf; One from our trees, one far away; Retard the sun with gentle mist; Enchant the land with amethyst. Slow, slow! For the grapes’ sake, if they were all, Whose leaves already are burnt with frost, Whose clustered fruit must else be lost— For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
*Affiliate Links: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. This helps keep the blog ad-free. Thank you!
The moon drops one or two feathers into the field. The dark wheat listens. Be still. Now. There they are, the moon’s young, trying Their wings. Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone Wholly, into the air. I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe Or move. I listen. The wheat leans back toward its own darkness, And I lean toward mine.
Today the strong south wind is keeping the trees dancing and all the maples’ remaining leaves holding on to their golden splendor as the branches dance wildly.
The giant green combine is making a lot of noise in the field across the road, dust flying as it churns over the corn. Clouds cover the sky and the air is cool–a better day for being in than out, in my mind.
Plans for the rest of the day include choosing a delicious recipe for the Shiitake mushrooms Alan picked from our log this morning; doing some Ayurveda homework; making elderberry syrup; sewing up some fabric pumpkins for my shop; reading a few poems from the Eavan Boland book I have; and doing a watercolor lesson from one of the Liz Steel courses I have.
And then light candles and turn on the orange Halloween lights, set the table, jazz playing while we cook dinner and eat together. If we feel like it, perhaps we’ll play a game or watch an old black and white film together. And I’ll end the night in bed reading one of the books on my nightstand. (I’ll tell you about them in an upcoming post.)
I hope you have time to rest and do the things that you love to do this Sunday!
In the years to come they will say, “They fell like the leaves In the autumn of nineteen thirty-nine.” November has come to the forest, To the meadows where we picked the cyclamen. The year fades with the white frost On the brown sedge in the hazy meadows, Where the deer tracks were black in the morning. Ice forms in the shadows; Disheveled maples hang over the water; Deep gold sunlight glistens on the shrunken stream. Somnolent trout move through pillars of brown and gold. The yellow maple leaves eddy above them, The glittering leaves of the cottonwood, The olive, velvety alder leaves, The scarlet dogwood leaves, Most poignant of all.
In the afternoon thin blades of cloud Move over the mountains; The storm clouds follow them; Fine rain falls without wind. The forest is filled with wet resonant silence. When the rain pauses the clouds Cling to the cliffs and the waterfalls. In the evening the wind changes; Snow falls in the sunset. We stand in the snowy twilight And watch the moon rise in a breach of cloud. Between the black pines lie narrow bands of moonlight, Glimmering with floating snow. An owl cries in the sifting darkness. The moon has a sheen like a glacier.
I think he knows I’m alive, having come down The three steps of the back porch And given me a good once over. All afternoon He’s been moving back and forth, Gathering odd bits of walnut shells and twigs, While all about him the great fields tumble To the blades of the thresher. He’s lucky To be where he is, wild with all that happens. He’s lucky he’s not one of the shadows Living in the blond heart of the wheat. This autumn when trees bolt, dark with the fires Of starlight, he’ll curl among their roots, Wanting nothing but the slow burn of matter On which he fastens like a small, brown flame.