Bernadette Petrie tells us to say yes to nature’s invitation to autumn.

mentioned the word autumn to someone the other day and they had an, almost, audible shudder. “I’m not at all ready for that” they said “I want summer to stay”. Of course, I knew what they meant. But that particular day had a lovely pre-autumnal feel, it was sunny with a warm September breeze and my daily sea swim had a new crispness about it. At the time of our conversation I was sitting with friends who were playing backgammon in the lovely Locketts on North Berwick’s high street. And these little moments, throughout the day, felt as if I was getting a flavour of what was to come. In fact, autumn now feels like an annual visit from a dear friend.

And with this thought in mind, I started thinking about wedding invitations. Traditionally, wedding invitations arrive six weeks before the wedding is due to take place. The moment the invitation arrives through the letterbox, it triggers feelings of excitement and anticipation, especially if it’s the wedding of a close friend. You get a little flash-forward moment, and see yourself dressed up for the wedding and old friends gathered together once more. The moment feels exciting, but you have six weeks to prepare and get ready. If the invitation came a day before the wedding you might well flap and fluster and would not feel geared up to take part. Exactly like the person I was chatting to about autumn. And, that is why invitations give notice and require an RSVP. You have a choice – do you say yes or do you say no?

I think nature sends us an invitation to celebrate and enjoy the autumnal season in much the same way. We all know it’s coming and for me this is my 51st September round the sun and I guess that’s why autumn now feels like an old friend. 

The seasons, in fact, do give advance notice so we can prepare. And, we have the same choice – saying no stimulates resistance and would see us shiver and grunt as the weather goes through the changes. But, by saying yes you trigger the natural cycle of acceptance which is so powerful. It means letting go of our summer tans, just as the trees do with their leaves; it means harvesting our summer memories, just as the farmers do with the crops. It also means allowing our landscape to shift and change, as new chapters or new adventures emerge. Just as children grow and start or leave school, change arrives for all. It means taking better care of ourselves too – more structure, maybe earlier nights, nourishing food and more exercise.

It means breathing in, accepting another year is coming to its closing sequence, as this old friend arrives once more. And, after all this preparation is done we get to light fires, light candles, gather friends and welcome the darkness once more. Say yes to autumn, this old friend won’t be here for long so make time for them and hopefully you will enjoy it all the more. Celebrate another successful adventure around the sun, and don’t worry, our fun friend summer will be back next year!

With love until the next time

THE BAREFOOT SANCTUARY
45 Melbourne Place, North Berwick | e: bernie@barefootambition.co.uk  | www.thebarefootsanctuary.co.uk