Hi friends, I'd thought I'd share this sweet mix of peonies and roses to start my letter today. I love the burnt orange of the roses, very autumnal I think. Maybe this is a perfect transition bouquet from a summer to autumn palette?
How do you transition into Autumn, is it a hopeful time as you look forward or maybe a sad one as you look back?
I've grown over the years in planning ahead and creating traditions and rhythms to our Autumn entry. Part of that transition involves making the most of the last days of summer by outings or eating in the garden, taking lots of walks, sitting in park, eating our favourite ice creams from a little cafe in the next village.
I visited Kenwood House last Saturday, the weather was glorious and I soon regretted my autumn boots and jeans!
I've also begun to place some small things in the house. I have a vase of dried grasses from the summer with some dried heathers and rosy garlic, they add a touch of colour. Often when my children were younger we'd gather leaves, sticks, acorns, flowers etc and form a little table centrepiece when we got home. These are such simple and free ways to create some seasonal style.
I cut a print from a cheap colouring-in book, put an old frame around it and placed it above the fireplace. A few candles always add warmth and cosiness especially in the evenings.
By the front door I've placed some dried thistles my friend collected for me in my old pasta jar, a plate I found in a charity shop for £1.50, a £1.99 ceramic squirrel from TKMaxx a few years ago and The Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady has wonderful nature paintings, poems, and seasonal fascinations.
The rest of my home looks very lived in! But these little inexpensive touches in just a few areas really help me to feel anchored and to embrace each season.
I'm learning more and more that transition is itself a valuable season. Traditionally I've navigated these in-between stages with a mixture of either resistance or resignation. But leaning that way caused me to live in a pattern of 'holding my breath'. This begs the questions - how long can I hold my breath for and how long will I need to?
Looking back I can see how I viewed 'normal' seasons (times without challenge) like the house I lived in, and the disruptions were like being thrown out into a wilderness.
This brings to mind the story of the Israelites who having escaped Egypt went on to spend the next 40 years wandering in the wilderness. God was trying to teach them to trust him in that time but they grumbled and complained, they rebelled and even wished they were back in captivity! They wanted to go back to normal. Talk about missing a season. I've done that. But God had a purpose for them to flourish in that place, to live into it and grow. Between Egypt and the Promised Land was the most valuable season of all, and they missed it!
Waiting for the season to pass, to return to 'normal', has caused me to live detached from the here and now and I've often failed to glean the beauty in the season as well as the growth. Like you, I've walked through many wilderness seasons in my life; international moves, moving church, 23 years of marriage, the toddler years, the teen years, the empty nest years (not quite there yet!), seasons of prolonged illness, the disillusioned seasons, the hurt seasons, seasons of loneliness, times of lack.
For me transitional seasons usually present themselves as seasons of imperfection, circumstances I didn't plan for or expect. In truth they are just, life. Somewhere we've bought into a belief that life should be bump free and strewn with blessings but in reality it is peppered with challenges. Life is the whole house we live in and it has many rooms, all with different functions and purposes for our lives.
Do you feel like you're in a wilderness?
Maybe today, if you're in a season of transition it's a good time to reflect and ask yourself some questions that can help assign purpose and bring hope.
What am I most afraid of right now?
What could this season be teaching me?
How can I allow space to hear and see what's ahead?
How can I be most present in this moment?
I believe if we can purpose to see the value in transition then our whole outlook can reframe our present. No season wasted. I've certainly not perfected this but I'm pressing forward towards it.