Lessons from Nature: Change of Seasons
25th November 2021
Wandering amongst the autumn trees, I admired the blazing yellows, striking reds and vibrant oranges contrasting with the clear blue sky, with the sunlight streaming through to the woodland floor. Leaves whirled through the air, falling all around me as the wind played with them before letting them spiral to the ground to form a thick carpet beneath my feet. The trees were celebrating autumn and letting go in the most beautiful and striking way. What can this changing of the seasons teach us?
As the cold weather arrives and the days grow shorter, deciduous trees stop producing chlorophyll. This causes the leaves green pigment to fade, revealing the bright colours underneath. As the leaves cannot photosynthesise in freezing weather they are no longer needed by the tree and in fact would leave the tree more vulnerable to damage from winter storms. On the ground the leaves decay providing nutrients for new growth in the spring.
But whilst it seems beautiful for the trees to let go of all their lovely coloured leaves, I don’t often think of the letting go in my life as being beautiful. Often, I find myself clinging to what is familiar and comfortable and view letting go as loss. However, when I have let go of the things that are no longer working for me such as a job that I didn’t enjoy, I found that I made room for new opportunities including a job that I love.
Moving towards the dark and cold of winter, hedgehogs, dormice and bats go into hibernation. In contrast, just as nature is winding down for winter, things seem to get busy and I find myself rushing around and running on empty by the time schools break up. Could hibernation benefit me I wonder? Whilst it’s not practical to hibernate for the entire winter, there are many ways to look after our wellbeing during the winter months by using some lessons from hibernation.
Hibernation isn’t actually sleep, but is essentially about conserving energy when food sources are low and the weather conditions are harsh. This winter, in amongst the busyness, I’m going to try to take a lesson from hibernation including making more warming soups and stews, taking gentle walks in nature when I can, rather than starting a new year’s fitness challenge. The idea of getting cosy inside like a dormouse curled tightly in a ball of leaves and grass really appeals when it’s cold and damp outside. Instead of hibernating, I will try to make sure I get enough sleep and some early nights this winter and make time to wrap up with a blanket and a good book in front of the fire with a hot cup of tea.
Written by Julia Babbitt, Programme Coordinator
Photo Credit: Zoe Helena Kindermann Wikimedia Commons