As I write to you, I’m enamored with the Copper Beech in my front yard: an old tree that has truly embodied autumn this year. “Copper Beech” is such a beautiful name, and this month the tree has awakened to its full coppery glory. I notice it all the time: when I’m driving home and waiting at the stoplight a hundred feet my house; when I pull into the driveway and pause a moment before stepping out; when I go out to the get the paper in the cold morning air.
It’s always there, and it’s always changing. Soon it will be a cross hatch of bare branches, and I’ll forget to notice the tree. I’ll keep my head down against the dark and the cold.
Until sometime in April when, very quietly, it will nudge me out of my stupor. It will sport tiny, fuzzy, rusty buds that will keep changing and growing into the glory you see above. It does all this without a fuss. It just stands and waits and grows.
It’s easy to take notice of the the world around us when it’s beautiful. Especially in a season like fall, where the changes seem more stunning, more obvious, and we’re motivated to hang on to every moment. More challenging is the darker, slower, perhaps less noticeable season to come.
That’s why it’s so important to practice. Practice noticing. Practice gratitude. Practice acceptance. Practice taking three minutes to pause, note, bow, and continue on. Because when it’s not so obvious to us that we must take notice, our body, minds, and hearts will remember for us.
Fiona Robyns, at Writing Our Way Home, is such a great reminder of this. In her blog post today, she reminds us that we can feel better in an instant, just by taking three minutes to notice what’s right in front of us, then writing it down. After describing the busyness of her morning, she writes:
But I hadn’t looked at the browning edges of this blue-grey leaf brushing against the side of my laptop screen. I hadn’t sniffed at this cup of tea and wondered at how far the tea leaves have travelled. I hadn’t stood at our glass doors and seen the pink of a last few fallen apples, the delicate virginal flags of the cyclamen. I hadn’t let out a deep, slow breath.
I have now, and I feel better. A little more spacious. A little more grounded. A little more connected.
Three minutes. That’s all it takes.
And it’s true. That’s all it takes to connect back to the world, the season, and yourself. So try it. Practice it. Take three minutes, RIGHT NOW, and notice what’s right in front of you. Give it your full attention. Write it down. Surely you have three minutes? Tell us what you see.
Yours in the transience of autumn,
P.S.: Check out Fiona’s Mindful Writing Day, set for Nov. 1. I’ll be there, will you?