“Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the tree house; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape…”
— Harper Lee
As the shadows grow longer, do you find that the late summer days are still filling your senses with summer? Do you enjoy those late Early Girl tomatoes that burst juicy with the late seasonal finish of sweetness? Do you relish in the routines of kids in your life returning to school and this year being a little sweeter than year’s past? With a renewed sense of “normalcy”, this summer may have been full of indulgence like no other! Variants and vaccinations aside, now it continues to change as we plod along in a pandemic.
Time marches on and noticing this bit of late summer can be an act of ending this season on a high note toward healthy shifts and changes. The simplicity of remembering past summers at this time can be a deeply grounding action to settle into our ages. Allow time to stop in this moment to remember the quantum collection of summer’s past. In this way, you can recall feelings and remember your uniqueness through space in time.
If I’ve lost you, what I am referring to are the feelings of
- going back to school (even if you are out of school)
- making a big batch of end of season tomato sauce
- enjoying the bounty of watermelon and corn that greets you at the farmer’s market or grocery store
- noticing sports that gear up in the Fall like football, soccer, reviving a workout routine
- pulling the fleece or fuzzy sweater out to wear for evening walks
With the changes of the seasons, whether it is boiling hot in the Southern areas of the Northern Hemisphere, or if you are having a crisp cool breeze in the mornings, you most likely notice the days growing a wee bit shorter, and that feeling of the sun’s movement south.
The changes also happen inside of our bodies, as we are part of the ecosystem in which we live. Nourishing our bodies with hydration and connecting with these feelings can foster ease in what is usually a tough transition for our bodies to make from Summer to Fall.
Summer to Fall Transition
Over the summer, we may have indulged in lush desserts — think berry pie, ice cream, potluck cookies. Sugar-laden drinks and cocktails add a zip of inflammation to our bodies. Taxing our digestive tract with added BBQ dinners and salads — complex combinations of foods that depletes our energy (prana) in order to process each ingredient. We’ve partied and connected with others (despite vaccination schedules and Covid-19 deltas). It has been a summer to benefit our mental health as we’ve climbed out of living rooms and into a life of fun and celebration, (albeit most likely masked up).
All of this activity can deplete the most robust body. This is why in Ayurveda, we often connect deeply with the seasonal shifts with unique rituals to celebrate the seasons known as Ritucharya, ऋतुचर्या. Adding Ritucharya rituals of awareness and implementation of what is needed for each season can help restore our immunity, when it is traditionally struggling with the changes of seasons. For Summer to Fall — — please find a list of traditional methods to add in the Northern Hemisphere, as we embrace hot end of summer days and also the chill of impending Fall and less sunshine in the sky. It is a natural point of conflict and change inside of our bodies.
Tips to Transition
- We may have lost precious moisture with the endless summer heat waves, fire season, and the additional activities. Counter this with: more hydration of water and lubrication of healthy oils in our diet. Stay away from depleting alcohol and even caffeine right now.
- Seek out the cool areas of the forest and connect with trees as the days fire up. Embrace the water’s edge of the ocean, river, or lakes. Swim in the fresh waters to heal your spirit and nurture your body with wild waters. Wear adornments of pearls and jewelry offering cooling nature from the sea and rivers to your skin.
- Avoid overly salty, sour, or pungent/spicy foods. Sour foods can be taken in low quantities at the beginning of meals to stir appetite. At this time, we benefit from nurturing hydration and fresh foods of high water content like summer squash, fresh corn, and watermelon. Enjoy end of season bounties at your farmer’s markets. From TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) science, cooling mushrooms can be medicinal at this time.
- Avoid deep cleanses right now and focus on nurturing your body with sweetness and hydration (like watermelon).
Download the chart below for a gentle reminder of the magic of this season and the leaves begin to turn a shade of yellow, orange, or brown. Enjoy the memories of a summer well celebrated and turn to Autumn for its time of nature’s art as we let go of the past.