facing into the wind

As the weather turns colder, darker, drearier, it becomes easier to avoid.

We love getting out into nature - until it gets uncomfortable.

I know I've grown less tolerant of the chill as I've gotten older. But more recently, I've decided, it's important to my health and well-being to immerse myself in the elements, even if only briefly, every day.

A couple of days ago, I spent an hour or so outside during the waning of the afternoon. The day's long rain steady gave way, and in the brief window just before the following cold front came in riding in on the wind, we lit a bonfire.

The flames, consuming not only the debris of the just-past summer, but the last of the casualties from last winter's devastating ice storm, created so much heat it was almost difficult to stay facing it for long.

Fire, sparks, smoke, ash in front of me. Cold, persistent wind at my back whipping my hair around into my face and eyes.

It was glorious, especially as the sun was setting below the cover of clouds, setting the distant treetops ablaze with autumn color. The half moon appeared as the pink clouds darkened to gray, and the haunting quality of a November twilight settled in.

Something about the feel of that hour - the smells, the bracing chill on my face, the dark, skeletal shadows of trees lining my yard, the faint ancestral memory of a time when I would not have had four warm walls to look forward to when the fire died out. Feeling so awake and alive, and yet... fully aware of darkness and cold closing in around us.

Halloween, having become something entirely different to our modern culture, could be better understood in this hour... coming face to face with the end of summer, the end of the harvest, possibly the end of yourself or loved ones, if you could not make it through the winter ahead.

Making peace with death, bribing it if possible, and letting it all go. I understood why this time was celebrated.

And all this because I chose to be outside. Not 50 yards from my cozy living room.

What can you find and connect with just outside your door? I invite you try it. Feel it. Smell it.

Remember it.