Space for Autumn

The autumnal equinox is a good moment to pause and think back on summer. It is one in which I swam against the current. While harvest time is a time of abundance and seeing the fruits of your labor, my actions over the past three months have been devoted to reducing what I have and emptying the space around me.

It started with pulling all of my clothes out of the wardrobe and removing what I no longer wear, what didn’t suit me anymore, what was unflattering or getting threadbare. Every time I open the door now, I get a little thrill at how nicely organized everything looks. Then the bookshelves came under scrutiny. I forgave myself for what I hadn’t read yet and realistically never will, separated the wheat from the chaff, and decided to donate or sell a significant amount. Next, I sorted and brought order to all the bookmarks in my web browser and deleted over half of my computer files. A friend quipped: if I lose files now, it will only be the important ones. Though that is not likely to happen because after seven years of living dangerously, I have finally backed up my hard drive. And the coup de grâce: I got rid of the wooden inbox tray on my desk, working through what needed to be done and tossing what I realized I would never do. It is a wonderful feeling, no longer being confronted by a stack of unfinished business each time I sit down to work.

When you undertake a decluttering action, you see how easily your life can become full of unimportant things. I have weeded out most of what I don’t need and am curious what will arise in the newly created space. One voice has already become audible: learn more about sustainable textile production and design, take the plunge and finally learn how to sew and how to spin fiber. Will it get louder?

TC’s pullover, meanwhile, is nearing completion. I just need to sit down for an hour or so and do some short row work on the collar and then he’ll be ready for cooler temperatures. I started a bulky fisherman’s rib scarf and continue working on a thin brown cardigan for myself.

Coming to the end of this post, I realize what I said at the start is false: I haven’t been swimming against the current. Before you bring in the harvest, you need to have an empty storage space, and I’ve made room for what I need to nourish me through the winter. TC has started working on his walnut collection; now it’s time for me to start stocking up.

Good luck making space and bringing in the harvest!

To know emptiness…is more like stumbling into a clearing in the forest, where suddenly you can move freely and see clearly. To experience emptiness is to experience the shocking absence of what normally determines the sense of who you are and the kind of reality you inhabit.” – Stephen Batchelor, Buddhism Without Beliefs.