In Acupuncture theory there are five seasons. The unusual fifth season is the one we are currently in – late summer or harvest time. The time of the Earth Element.
When you start to think of it as a separate season it really does have a feel of its own… Partly because of the school holidays, the summer seems to get busier and busier, and then suddenly calm down when September rolls along.
Though the days can still be balmy, the mornings and evenings become crisper and the light begins to draws in. The morning dew is cold and illuminates the spiders webs that spring up everywhere right now. In the fields, the evidence of harvest is all around, hay bails wait to be collected and crops are growing ripe. Nature is spent, its cycle through the year complete, laden with berries, fruit and seeds ready for next year.
The colour of the Earth Element is orange and yellow, a colour that is also abundant at this time. Golden yellow fields of spent grass, pumpkins, sweetcorn and the orange light of the low sun at dawn and dusk.
Emotionally this can be a bitter-sweet time. It is the time to reap the rewards of hard work done, but it is also the beginning of the end, the first reminder that winter will come again. It is a time of reflection and planning, a time to collect, store and be ready.
Even in the recent past, it would have been a very communal phase of the year. However, unlike the playful social gatherings of summer, this would have been the time for the community to work together – collecting in the crops, often late into the night under the Harvest moon. It is a time of pulling together for the good of all and sharing our efforts for the protection of each other.
This can actually lead to it being a rather uncertain season for us all, because this is the time for looking ahead. Will there be enough? Has the harvest been successful? Will we have the reserve we need for the long dark days of winter? Worry, over thinking and sympathy are the emotions of Late Summer and in a way it is no wonder. We never know what lies ahead and can only prepare so much, both for ourselves and each other… If you find yourself preoccupied with future worries at the moment, particularly if they concern those you love, try to take heart, this too is a natural part of the cycle of time. Do your best, be there for each other, look after yourself, play your part in helping with the bigger picture, and then put your trust in the unconditional abundance of the beautiful Earth that supports us.