It might seem strange… but at this time of year I always start to imagine the 'coorie in' (snuggle, cuddle, nestle in) that comes with winter! I know it’s only just over six weeks since Litha, the Summer Solstice, and only just past Lughnasadh, but there’s a change in the air, at least here on the Isle of Skye, that feels almost Autumn- like. The dark starts to come obviously earlier each day, not quite yet ‘drawing in’, but soon…
I’m still grateful for every bright and warm day… taking the opportunity to swim and walk without being bundled up in coats and scarves… but I sense the colder months coming. And there’s a part of me that welcomes the thought.
Maybe it’s the kids returning to school for the new academic year, which starts my yearning for the snuggly season, for this was always my favourite term when they were wee… with Halloween and Bonfire night & all the excitement and events in the lead up to Christmas.
Not quite so exciting with two teens, although there’s still plenty of ritual to mark the change of season… harvesting the veggies we’ve grown… starting to feel the need to get out for a walk each day, to make the most of the light… kayaking club finishing for the year… evenings laying on the trampoline wrapped in blankets looking at he stars (invisble in the bright summer months) and of course the anticipation of Strictly becoming a feature of Saturday nights again!
And I find myself, although totally appreciating the season we’re in, somehow also eagerly anticipating what's to come… a slower, quieter time, with less busyness … less gardening… less socialising… more sleep… more rest… less ‘out’ & more ‘in’…
I’ve not always lived this way… it never occurred to me when I was younger, or perhaps less in tune with nature and the Earth, to slow down in the winter. The saying ‘sleep when you're dead’ comes to mind! Maybe I didn’t need to slow down then… but I notice as I reach the Lughnasadh of my life, my Autumn season, I definitely need to slow more!
Our society pushes us to keep going, convincing us we should be productive all year round, as though we're linear when the truth is we’re cyclical beings. We, like nature, need periods of dormancy, to be able to produce… to bloom… to fruit... to fully realise our potential… Without the time to rest and replenish, we’re unable to continue month after month, year after year.
And so I’ve learned to start to slow down at this time of year, to notice what I’m harvesting, to see if I planted too much to manage my harvest well… and start to gather the seeds from this season and think about what I want to plant next year. By the time I get to Samhain, Halloween, things are much slower again… and darker (already six weeks after Mabon, the Autumn equinox).
Lughnasadh is the first Harvest… Mabon the second… and Samhain the third… perhaps another reason I'm anticipating winter already... once I start to harvest all this year has brought I’m into the season of all the harvests…
I don’t know about you, but I find it takes intention to slow down and settle into winter, it doesn’t just happen by itself… I often have to give myself permission; I might have to consciously say no to more; I have to choose to turn inward; I have to prioritise the activities that nourish me, choose to take time for myself - putting something in rather than taking more out.
Ohhh now I’ve let myself really think about it, I can feel my whole body melting into what’s to come… candles and reading poetry, knitting and creating art, meditating and slow walks, listening to the quiet voice within and visioning the future, jumpers and scarves, naps and books from the bookshelf patiently awaiting attention and snuggling up with my family watching films.
I find that embracing winter in this way has been a revelation! Instead of feeling sad or even dread as the darker and colder months creep closer, I open to them and the joy they can bring (if I allow!)… just like every season if I fully embrace it!
If you feel you would welcome a pause at the time of Samhain to explore your year’s harvest, to nourish yourself, to give yourself permission to 'coorie in', setting the intention to settle into winter… JOIN ME!
I'm hosting a Women’s Wellness Retreat with Josephine of Croft4 on the Isle of Skye. It’s going to be so gorgeous! With ceremony and meditation, connection and space, yoga and massage, nourishing food, wild swimming and sauna, art and poetry… and at the core… rest, replenishing after the busy time of the year and returning to centre… to self… to health… to wellness...
* coorie - a Scottish word meaning to snuggle, cuddle or nestle