by Bonnie Wurst
“Let me tell you ‘bout the birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees, the moon up above and a thing called… Autumn Angst! “
In the song ‘The Birds and the Bees’ recorded by Jewel Akens in 1964, the correct lyric is ‘a thing called… LOVE’ – the spring kind Mother Nature has all wrapped up.
For my Babble this week I used the words ‘Autumn Angst’ for all intent and purpose. You see, the birds, bees, flowers, trees and the moon are all in tune with life in a way we seem to have lost. Nature has cycles which repeat year after year, season after season – all part of what keeps the world turning in a harmonious way. There are no additives and no preservatives. It’s intelligent by design. And we aren’t in synch with it anymore.
Autumn is the time of the year when beginnings have come to fruition, the harvests are reaped and the time to slow down begins. It’s like preparing for a good night’s sleep before pulling winter’s blanket over our heads. It might not be as apparent in the southern hemisphere, but seasonal changes do take place – even if it is as simple as the influx of migrating birds from the north.
So here we are, apparently the most intelligent species on the planet, builders of a modern society, inventors of systems and products intended to make our lives more efficient. The change of seasons are inevitable, but instead of embracing the rhythm of nature, we confront it.
We confront it with personal organizers and planners, digital calendars and alarm clocks. It really wasn’t very long ago when the ‘moon up above’ dictated our schedules.
In the northern hemisphere we meet autumn with leaf blowers, TV series premieres, new wardrobes and need I mention, hockey season. When the Harvest Moon rises full in the night sky, a ‘pop-up’ reminder tells us to bring in the plants we put outside for the summer, clean the barbecue and perhaps take a trip to the Farmer’s Market for that last jar of marinated pickles and artisanal jam, or a few butternut squash and a braid of organic garlic. It’s a heck of a lot easier than canning fruit, storing root veggies in the cellar and chopping wood for the stove, as so many did not even a century ago.
In many ways our lives are now much simpler, but they are also filled with societal expectations and much anxiety. In the fall we experience angst. Autumn Angst.
Instead of slowing down and taking time out for reflection, most of us speed up. We shut down the air-conditioning systems, put the thermostats up – not just in our homes, but in our daily lives. The heat rises. The pressure is on. We’re running around like hamsters on a wheel with the illusion of going somewhere.
Our schedules are busier than any other time of the year. There are kids to shuttle to school, supplies to be bought, more traffic to contend with, new projects and programs, meetings to attend, snow removal contractors to secure, cars to be tuned up – the list goes on and on. We forget to breath.
We’re barely living the autumn season to its fullest. Even before the solstice, pumpkins and Halloween candies are already on supermarket shelves. As soon as the shelves are emptied of zombie masks, synthetic webs and plastic spiders – paraphernalia for the winter holiday season is put up and we’re singing along to Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’ in department stores or spinning a few Hanukah dreidels.
Just last week I was at a discount ‘Dollar Store’. Shelves on both sides of one aisle were overflowing with masks, tridents, witch hats and blow up pumpkins. As I turned into the next aisle I was confronted by shelves of Christmas decorations – just waiting to take their coveted place on November 1st. Somewhere in between all that there is also the Thanksgiving holiday. Gobble, gobble, gobble.
Many do take the time to enjoy the colorful change of foliage, breathing it all in with walks along park trails or a drive to the country during ‘peak weekend’. But before the last leaf falls, we’ve already burned out the entire season. The only thing we seem to be in tune with are geese. There are gaggles of North American ‘snowbirds’ who head south for the winter to their migratory beaches.
Autumn Angst has settled in – and I have some pumpkin seeds to bake for my yoga group.
Bonnie Wurst is a freelance journalist, a weekly columnist for the West End Times, a novelist, ghost writer (not the scary kind) and humorist. Her book “Damaged Goods Re-Stitched” can be found on Amazon.com. Bonnie is available for speaking engagements and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org