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  • Writer's picturehannah brailsford

Seasons of Change

As Autumn starts to take hold with a chill in the air and a riot of gold, red and brown both on the trees and carpeting the ground below and the days grow shorter, I find myself pondering upon how the seasons reflect the pivotal stages in our lives. It’s not a new idea or a groundbreaking concept, but often one we can find ourselves neglecting to consider and honour.

If Spring is like our childhood, the time when we establish our roots, grow and experience as much of life as possible. A time to emerge into the light and bud and bloom and learn. If Summer, with its riot of colour and heat is just like young adulthood; a time to fully blossom and create deeper roots and find our place in the world. Then perhaps our middle years are our Autumnal years when we feel as if we are finally rooted, maturing and seeing the fruits of our labour; where change is around the corner, but for now we hold on to the light for as long as we can. Perhaps it's also a time when we shed the encumbrance of youth and start to harness and allow our inner colours to shine through and prepare for the winter that lies ahead.

So what of this winter? On one hand, the loss of light and warmth can feel bleak and claustrophobic; a time when life has all but disappeared. Yet winter is so much more than. Winter is a time of rest, when the earth conserves its energy, allowing itself to regenerate and replenish so that spring can come again. It is a still, quiet time when we can see the natural world stripped back to its bare beauty, without the distractions of the colour or frenzied activity of Spring and Summer. Winter is the time of preparation for a new spring when we will bloom into the next elders and wisdom bearers.

It's easy to relate peri-menopause, menopause and post menopause to the shifting

seasons as well. On a personal level, Peri- menopause feels very much like autumn to me. The gradual changes that affect my body and my emotions are like the changing colours of the trees and there is a definite sense of shedding layers of oneself that are no longer needed. There is also a definite shift in pace and like the landscape around me, I feel an invisible force guiding me to slow down and gather the reserves to help me step into winter. It goes without saying, there are many parallels with the physical side effects of the peri-menopause and the physical attributes of the Autumn months. The swirling mists and fogs that can envelope the landscape at this time of year are like those that at times can fill and obscure my mind and my capacity to think and create. The sudden bursts of fire that explode into our night skies in early November, are like those surges of heat that combust internally and without warning in me. Then there’s confidence and self worth hanging as fragile as the golden leaf that clings to the branch as a chill gust of wind attempts to toss it to the ground. I feel the passage of time far more acutely than ever before and the fragility of life.

I know I’m not alone in many of these feelings, feelings that are reflected back in the responses of many of the female creatives who have so generously responded to my call out to share their experiences of this transitional phase. It is clear that, besides the physical symptoms that may or may not be a factor for many women, the emotional and psychological effects of this autumnal stage in our lives can leave us feeling like leaves dancing on the wind, trying to re-anchor ourselves and in turn this can profoundly influence our creativity or determine our capacity for creating work.

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