Today is October 29, 2020. Where I live in New York, we are firmly into fall with winter palpably on the horizon. The leaves are past their autumnal peak. And there is a distinct feeling that the natural world is slowing its pace even if the rest of the world is not.
One of the many unexpected by-products of COVID-time for me has been a heightened awareness of weather and the seasons. Being outdoors has felt like such a respite, such a sanity savior during all of this. The newness and opening of spring, the hot hands of summer, the earthy coolness of fall: these things have all been active players during this new epoch when so much is outdoors. They have escorted us through this terrifying time and have determined much of what is possible within the constraints of a global pandemic.
And now winter looms, and the rules will change. It will be the first time during COVID where the natural world will echo what we are being called to do for our own collective safety: move inward, seek shelter, hunker down. I can’t quite articulate how I feel about this. Part of me feels sad and anxious, like I am gearing up for a huge loss. But, surprisingly, another part of me feels okay with it, like I am better prepared now than ever before. It is, after all, what we have already been practicing (hopefully) this whole time. Those muscles are so much stronger now, even if much more fatigued.
In my last blog post, I wrote about how magical it was to get back to teaching yoga in-person. And the setting I teach in requires that in-person classes be outdoors, which has also been magical. But I know that very soon those classes will pause as the weather grows cold. And that is a loss. But even this loss makes me more acutely connected to the natural change of seasons. And that is deep and special, indeed.
During class this week, a flock of geese passed overhead. They were high up in formation, alternating between a wavy line and a fluid V. They were loud and beautiful and unapologetic as they headed into new territory, towards new terrain.
All of us are heading into new terrain. So much is shifting beneath our very feet that it feels impossible to take it in. But I have decided to take a new approach when the fear and overwhelm of all that uncertainty sets in; I am going to try and remember those geese whose very instinct compels them to lean into change and do whatever the season requires.
I have no doubt that this season and many to follow will require an inordinate amount from each one of us. But I also have no doubt that we are, all of us, capable of meeting that challenge, even when we feel we are not.
I am capable. You are capable. We are capable. Together, we can lean into change, even when we are apart.