Delicious Autumn

A warm hello to all of my Beyond the Riverbend family! I hope you’ve been enjoying a cozy autumn so far! I am so sorry it’s been so long since I’ve last written. The past few months have been a bit crazy, a lot hazy, and even more than that, filled with very few opportunities for me to find personal time to sit down and write to you. This time I’m back (to stay) but I wanted to take today to discuss how important this season is – for the earth and for ourselves.

As the leaves change colors and begin to fall from their trees, the breeze gets a little crisper, and the sunlight filters through the clouds from a different angle, I have inhaled fall and exhaled summer. All of these signs of the changing seasons overwhelmed my senses the other morning when I woke up, made a cup of coffee, and stepped outside to take a stroll. Nestled along the ground, among the browning grass, were a cluster of beautiful cream-colored mushrooms. Lowering myself down to their level, I was drawn into their fantastical world… the world of fairies and garden gnomes. I allowed myself to take a moment of my morning to appreciate the magic of mushrooms – these small, invaluable works of nature.

Mushrooms are fungi, and nature’s very own recycling system. Fungi are plants that break down complex chemicals (such as the long polysaccharides found in leaves and other plant debris) into simpler ones which then become nutrients for new plants and animals. In other words, mushrooms are vital in the process of transforming decay into something beautiful and useful. They take death and turn it into life – into something new and replenishing and nutritious for the environment. I find this job and function that mushrooms serve to be both fascinating and inspiring; fascinating in their humble yet indispensable role, and inspiring in the lessons they so willingly offer about the beauty of new beginnings.

For me, these past few months have been a time of growth and self-discovery, and I felt it was necessary for my own well-being to take a break from many of the online facets of social media. This type of self-care is not only important for our health – it is essential. Change is a beautiful thing. How can we become who we are meant to be if we do not dispose of the old and welcome the new? How are we meant to transform decay, the parts of ourselves we do not wish to keep, the things that no longer serve us… if we don’t take the time to focus on recycling these things to create something new that does serve us? Death really doesn’t exist at all. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Instead, that energy is changed. Transformed. Orange and red leaves, after falling to the earthen floor, decompose. Mushrooms rise from the soil. And the leaf litter becomes nutrients for other plants to grow.

These past two months have been my mushroom. They have been my time of transformation. I hope that your autumnal season is full of reds and oranges and the beautiful recycling of life. Turn inward, take time to assess your state of mind and state of heart, and assess what “leaves” might be changing color in your life. Let them fall. Let them decay. Allow the months of this season to be your mushroom. And watch what grows in its place.

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“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” ~ George Eliot

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