Wintering

Into the coppery halls
of beech and intricate oak
to be close to the trees
as they whisper together
let fall their leaves,
and we die for the winter

Katherine Towers

Here in Yorkshire, UK, Autumn is at its zenith. It seems to come later than we expect these days but the trees are glorious right now.

I have always loved Autumn not only for its colours but I like its smell – the smell of damp earth, of leaves underfoot and wet woods.

I’m in the middle of stitching Autumn at the moment and really enjoying a riot of colour. I’m also painting in the background and taking a few courses to develop this side of things. I’m doing a course with Jenny Nelson to understand value and composition better, a fantastic face-to-face course with Claire Murray on abstract landscapes. Autumn colour is coming out in these, too.

It’s a paradox really that the pull back of the tree and the shedding of each individual life factory, brings the blaze of glory, such a display of colour and spectacle. And yet we also know that next year’s buds are already set in the ‘fire’ of Autumn. Waiting quietly.

It feels so much harder to say ‘no’ than saying ‘yes’, doesn’t it? We often view it as negative, a failure perhaps or a weakness, and yet the yearly season of ‘dying for the winter’ is just as long and important as ‘growing for the summer’ and equally as colourful. Autumn gives us permission to say a glorious ‘no’, or ‘not for a while’, it shows us that letting fall our leaves is as natural part of our life as growing new ones.

I would argue that many of us find a sense of quietening difficult. We have all-year availability and we are available all year, especially on social media. We don’t allow ourselves to say ‘no’ for a season, to withdraw. Winter is a time of incubation, restoration and secret preparation. Our souls need it.

As this year’s fall happens I know I need to do a little over-wintering myself. I’m going to step back from social media for the whole of December so there won’t be a blog although I will check in on things I need to respond to. I often take two weeks over Christmas but I’m going to see what a month feels like, if I find I’m really missing it, it will probably be even more worthwhile to have done it!

I would never wish to suggest that anyone stops doing anything that is motivating and life-giving. Many lovely readers are not in the physical (or metaphorical) season of Autumn around the world and if you are in a wellspring of busy creativity then it needs to be seized! However, if you do find a small whisper of resonance, there just may be something you could let fall… for a wintering…

Thank you for continuing to read my arty musings – it means a lot. Have a good end of year and enjoy however you celebrate winter’s festivals.