Words by Mark Sparrow
Have you noticed the beautiful light we have been lucky enough to experience in the last week or so?
The September sunshine has given us breathtaking dawns; stunning blue skies all day; dusky, golden twilights and a luminous moon. It's rare, I think, for the light to be so clear and distinct and I wonder if is a feature of the approaching Equinox?
Meanwhile, there's rich bounty in the hedges on the farm at the moment - a wonderful crop of blackberries, hawthorn berries and rose-hips. Their spectacular colours seem to glow with the sunshine that has ripened them and gathering them, as we have been doing, gives a real sense of preserving some of that energy for the darker months ahead.
Today, we arrive at the autumn equinox - the date when the Earth's equator passes through the centre of the sun - and day and night, light and dark, are of equal length.
We may feel sad that the long summer evenings are now over or lament the oncoming darkness but, for me, this is a time of poise and balance - we stand at a midway point, rather like the moment when the see-saw is at perfect balance, or the brief pause between the out-breath and the next in-breath. We know that summer is behind us and winter is coming but there is a momentary suspension where summer still lingers and before the inevitable descent into winter begins.
I wonder if it's possible for us to savour this moment rather than rush headlong into the next season? To stop and notice the light and the balance, even if it is only very briefly? The sun will rise at 7am and set again at just after 7pm. Would it be possible for us to make sure we are outside at these times, just to stand still and watch the light change? Perhaps it will give us a very real sense of that perfect balance of light and dark and a chance to witness those rare moments that normally would just slip past us? I intend to do this so it would be great to know that you were outside too!
If you'd like to take these moments of meditation a little further, why not give some thought, as the sun rises, to the summer just past, the sunshine and all that we have experienced during the lighter months? Or at twilight, think about what we all might need to sustain us through the dark days of winter. How is your sense of balance? What might help you come into greater balance just now?
The Sun – Mary Oliver
Have you ever seen
in your life
than the way the sun,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone–
and how it slides again
out of the blackness,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower
streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure
that fills you,
as the sun
as it warms you
as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world–
or have you too
Into the darkness
Of course, whether we like it or not, after today, we will experience more darkness than light for the next 6 months. Rather than resisting this, why not seize the opportunity to step out after dark?
It saddens me that so many people are afraid of stepping out into nature after dark. I love to walk in the dark and I experience the night as a velvet blanket that is comforting to be wrapped in. If you're lucky enough to live somewhere where your garden isn't lit by street lighting, then why not step out there and enjoy the darkness and its sounds? Or, better still, find a spot in a park or on a lane where the night lies heavily and spend a few moments there - even go for a walk. Of course, take a torch with you in case you need it - but not your phone. Switch off from the noises and lights that we are all too familiar with and touch base with those that we are so often out of contact with.
Enjoy the light - and the dark!
Join Balance Garden in London for an Autumn Equinox Yin Yoga class at The Siding, Tuesday 24th September 19:30-20:30
Mark Sparrow is a trained counsellor, Ecopsychologist and passionate advocate of life in harmony in Nature. You can find out more about him and his practice over at https://www.marksparrowcounselling.co.uk/.
Mark also runs Angel Cottage Organics at the beautiful Haddon Copse Farm in Dorset with his partner Tom. Find out more about the farm, including a number of courses that make the most of the stunning natural landscape by going to www.angelcottageorganics.co.uk
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